I'm measuring thicknesses of ~15 μm nickel thin films electroplated on a silicon substrate. I only have access to a SEM for this task. I need to cut the samples to get a side view of the film. However, the nickel film is plastic and the silicon undergoes a brittle fracture. As a result the nickel film often detaches from the substrate near the fracture point before I have the chance to cut it, making imaging impossible.
How could I cut through both the plastic thin film and the brittle silicon simultaneously? I'm getting access to liquid nitrogen in a week or so with the intention of freezing the sample. Is there a ~room temperature process which would allow me to prepare samples meanwhile?