Focused Ion Beam (FIB) Laboratory

The FEI dual-beam FIB/SEM, equipped with an Omniprobe micromanipulator, combines ion beam etching and deposition, fine probe manipulation, and high resolution SEM imaging, to provide an unparalleled capability of in situ, localized, nanoscale fabrication and characterization. In addition to some well-developed applications, such as mask repair, IC failure diagnosis, and TEM sample preparation, this combination of techniques in a single instrument opens the door to unique and creative applications in nanotechnology.

The instrument is an FEI Strata 235DB dual-beam FIB/SEM, containing both a focused Ga+ ion beam and a high resolution field emission scanning electron column. The utility of the columns is enhanced by the ability to selectively deposit Pt and insulator with either of the two beams and rapidly etch many insulating materials using XeF2. Further, there is an Omniprobe® micromanipulator within the chamber that can measure electrical properties as well as position devices with nanoscale precision.


Restrictions on samples

The sample material must be able to withstand a high vacuum environment without outgassing. It must be clean. It may be attached to the sample holder using any suitable SEM vacuum-quality adhesive. The sample must be electrically grounded to the sample holder to minimize sample charging. If the sample is nonconductive (plastic, fiber, polymer, or other substance with an electrical resistance greater than 1E10 ohms), the sample may be coated with a 200 – 300 Å layer of carbon or other conductor. Rough surfaced samples must be evenly coated from every direction. Biological, cloth and powder samples may require carbon or other conductive painting on portions of the sample that are hard to coat. The workstation can accommodate up to 150 mm (6") wafers.

Training and Service

FIB training is available on an as-needed basis. Basic training for inexperienced FIB users requires a minimum of three two-hour sessions (see training page for more detailed info). Additional training in specific FIB techniques (i.e., TEM sample preparation) is available on an as-needed basis following basic training. FIB users with prior experience will be trained at the level required.

FIB service may be available for projects where extensive instrument training is not practical. However, users must generally make or provide their own FIB-ready samples.

(information from FEI and NCEM)