An Introduction to Helium Ion Microscopy and its Nanotechnology Applications

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A new imaging technology based on a scanning helium ion beam has been realized. This technology has several advantages over the traditional SEM. Due to the very high source brightness, and the shorter wavelength of the helium ions, it is possible to focus the ion beam to a smaller probe size relative to a SEM. Also, as the ion beam interacts with the sample, it does not suffer from a large excitation volume, and hence provides sharp images on a wide range of materials. Compared to a SEM, the secondary electron yield is quite high – allowing for imaging with currents as low as 1 femtoamp. The detectors provide information-rich images which offer topographic, material, crystallographic, and electrical properties of the sample. In contrast to other ion beams, there is no discernable sample damage due to relatively light mass of the helium ion. Sample images will be presented.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 1, Technical Proceedings of the 2006 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show, Volume 1
Published: May 7, 2006
Pages: 737 - 740
Industry sector: Advanced Materials & Manufacturing
Topic: Materials Characterization & Imaging
ISBN: 0-9767985-6-5