High-Resolution Xe Plasma FIB

Expanded Patterning Capabilities


Up until recently, the resolution of plasma FIB was limited to 25 nm, a fact that restricted its use in higher precision applications. TESCAN has now further improved its Xe plasma FIB by increasing the source brightness resulting in a high-resolution Xe plasma FIB column (HR i-FIB) capable of achieving resolution of less than 15 nm. This improvement has made Xe plasma FIB more versatile extending its range of use into the area of traditional Ga FIB applications. With the new high-resolution Xe plasma FIB column you can complete large-scale milling tasks in unbeatable times at high currents up to 1 μA, and, on the other hand, perform tasks using the smallest spot size for all those applications that require higher levels of precision. This is a significant improvement over the state-of-the-art.   

With this improvement, TESCAN has now two Xe plasma FIB column options to choose from according to your specific needs, the i-FIB and HR i-FIB columns. Both columns represent a concrete solution to overcome volume limitations in FIB milling enabling milling speeds that can be up to 50 times faster compared to Ga source FIBs, hence, allowing fast and effortless sample preparation/analyses exceeding spatial dimensions of 100 × 100 × 100 µm³.
  • Choose the i-FIB column to maximise productivity and throughput in your lab by completing large-scale milling tasks within a few minutes or hours at maximum ion beam currents of 2 µA.
  • Choose the HR i-FIB column to profit from a powerful yet sharper ion beam that enables you not only to complete large-scale milling tasks* ‒ with better resolution ‒ but also delicate nanoengineering applications at low and ultra-low ion beam currents with small spot sizes.

Highlights

  • Versatile ion beam current range:
    • high currents for large-volume material removal
    • medium currents for large-area cross-section polishing, large-volume FIB tomography
    • lower currents for TEM lamella polishing, delayering, TOF-SIMS
    • ultra-low currents for very fine polishing, nanopatterning, high-resolution ion imaging
  • Large-mass xenon ions with larger FIB current range for ultra-fast sputtering even with­out gas-assisted enhancement
  • Significant reduction in surface amorphisation and ion implantation compared to Ga LMIS FIBs
  • Xe inert gas atoms do not increase material conductivity in the vicinity of the patterned surface (as opposed to Ga)
  • No intermetallic compounds formed during FIB milling
Ion column HR i-FIB i-FIB
Ion gun ECR-generated Xe plasma ion source
Accelerating voltage 3 kV to 30 kV
Probe current 1 pA to 1 µA 1 pA to 2 µA
Resolution (at 30 keV) < 15 nm < 25 nm
Magnification Minimum 150 × at coincidence point and 10 kV (corresponding to 1 mm field of view), maximum 1,000,000 ×
SEM-FIB coincidence at WD 9 mm (FERA3) / WD 5 mm (XEIA3) for SEM – WD 12 mm for FIB
SEM-FIB angle 55°

FERA3 and XEIA3 are the TESCAN Xe plasma FIB systems that can be configured, according to your particular needs for sample micro/nanoengineering, with either the Xe plasma FIB (i-FIB) or the high-resolution Xe plasma FIB (HR i-FIB) columns.

* As an example, a routine failure analysis of TSVs typically requires the sputtering of more than 100 × 100 × 100 µm³ of material through a Si wafer in order to reach the region of interest. Milling such volume of Si takes about 19 hours with Ga FIB at a current of 50 nA while only 36 minutes with Xe plasma FIB at a current of 1 µA (maximum ion beam current for the HR i-FIB column), or, overwhelming 18 minutes at 2 µA (maximum ion beam current for the i-FIB column).
Electrical properties of superconductive YBCO nano-constrictions were investigated via four-contact resistivity measurements. The contact pads were defined by optical lithography on a 100 nm YBCO thin layer. The new high-resolution Xe plasma FIB has been used to narrow the central 5 µm-wide constriction (marked with the red arrow) to a width of less than 50 nm. (a) Overview (WIDE FIELD) showing the four-contact layout. (b) Constriction to be narrowed. (c) Top view showing a final width of < 50 nm. Courtesy of the Institute of Electrical Engineering, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Department of Microelectronics and Sensors.
Cross-section of single-pixel-line trenches of various depths defined in a CrN layer by the new high-resolution Xe plasma FIB at 1 pA. The results of small-scale fracture toughness measurements obtained via high-resolution Xe plasma FIB notching of CrN cantilevers are reported in James P. Best, et al., Scripta Materialia 112 (2016), 71.
Cross-section of single-pixel-line trenches of various depths defined in a CrN layer by the new high-resolution Xe plasma FIB at 1 pA. The results of small-scale fracture toughness measurements obtained via high-resolution Xe plasma FIB notching of CrN cantilevers are reported in James P. Best, et al., Scripta Materialia 112 (2016), 71.
High-resolution Xe plasma FIB induced deposition of Pt for different dwell times (decreasing from top to bottom).
High-resolution Xe plasma FIB induced deposition of Pt for different dwell times (decreasing from top to bottom).
TEM lamella prepared with high-resolution Xe plasma FIB.
TEM lamella prepared with high-resolution Xe plasma FIB.