application picture of a fib-sem fabricated hall bar structure
Hall Bar structure on 3D Dirac semimetal Cd3As2; Enze Zhang, Fudan University, China

Focused ion beam (FIB) systems, and combined focused ion beam and scanning electron microscopes (FIB-SEM) in particular, are widely used for sample preparation and various analytical tasks. Those dual beam systems combine a FIB and SEM column, where SEM is the priority technique for high-resolution imaging and can be complemented with a variety of detectors such as: SE (secondary electron), BSE (backscatter electron), or EDX (energy-dispersive X-ray).

The FIB supports these applications in terms of cross-sectioning or sample preparation in order to extend into the third dimension or to ultra-thin parts of the sample. The latter allows for higher resolution, as well as use in other microscopes like TEM (transmission electron microscopy) or APT (atom probe tomography). Preparation of TEM lamella or APT tips has become one of the main applications for FIB-SEM. Moreover, simultaneous FIB cutting and SEM imaging allow for 3D tomography with nanometer resolution and reconstruction of complex structures.

Finally, with added capabilities like gas injection or in-situ electrical probing, a FIB-SEM microscope is a truly versatile instrument for microscopy and analysis in material sciences, nanoelectronics, life sciences, and more.


FIB-SEM Nanofabrication

An increasing number of applications make use of focused ion beam microscopy for rapid prototyping. FIB nanofabrication is a good partner for other lithography techniques, providing key strengths such as direct, resistless, and three-dimensional patterning. Although FIB milling can be slower than a resist-accelerated process in many cases, the relative simplification of the overall nanofabrication approach helps to achieve scientific results faster. Techniques like milling, gas-assisted etching, and deposition are particularly versatile and efficient approaches for direct processing of novel materials.

A nanolithography upgrade kit can be used to extend the onboard capabilities of FIB-SEM microscopes towards automated nanofabrication of more complex shapes and devices. The ELPHY MultiBeam offers a sophisticated package of pattern generator and software platform for additional capabilities without limiting the original analytical and imaging functionality of the microscope. Any FIB-SEM can therefore be extended toward a nanofabrication system by attaching an ELPHY MultiBeam.

Illustration of a FIB-SEM attached to an ELPHY MultiBeam
Turn your FIB-SEM into a nanofabrication tool by attaching an ELPHY MultiBeam to it.

Focused Ion Beam Nanofabrication

VELION, the FIB-SEM system dedicated to advanced nanofabrication, offers high resolution, versatility and unrivaled stability by combining various FIB processing techniques with a field emission SEM, Raith's laser interferometer stage and mature lithography technology. The FIB-SEM system VELION  has a FIB-prioritized nanofabrication setup with the ion column at the vertical position that truly defines FIB as the priority technique.

Besides its benefits in FIB, the tool delivers unmatched accuracy and stability for field stitching, truly continuous writing, and large-area sample navigation. This unique functionality can be applied to advanced nanofabrication of   

  • arrays with large numbers of finest features such as plasmonic nanoantennas,

  • extended 3-dimensional structures such as microfluidic mixers,

  • X-ray zone plates, or any complex pattern on challenging materials,

  • large-area gratings with best placement accuracy,

  • small batches for membrane or NEMS devices such as nanopores.

Moreover, FIB technology has been extended beyond gallium to take in delivery of multiple selectable ion species into a nanometer-scale focused ion beam. These ions include gold or silicon with the potential of novel functionalization, ion implantation, and lower contamination processes, opening the door to various nanofabrication techniques yet to be explored.


Application examples FIB-SEM Products
Discover FIB-SEM where FIB truly comes first

Choose the VELION for your nanofabrication requirements and benefit from a new FIB-SEM instrument in which FIB is the true priority technique. Supported by a field emission SEM and Raith´s unique Laser Interferometer Stage VELION meets the most demanding requirements both in R&D nano prototyping as well as sample preparation and microscopy.

Find out more about the FIB-SEM system VELION

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