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Focused Ion Beam (FIB)


Dual Beam focused ion beam microscopes (FIBs) are a relatively new type of instrumentation. They consist of a high-resolution SEM column for sample imaging combined with a fine-probe ion source for sample manipulation. These instruments are powerful tools for nano-machining as well as preparation of site-specific micron-scale samples (e.g. TEM foils) from within specific areas of larger samples. When combined with a sample lift-out system, dual beam FIBs allow for preparation and extraction of TEM samples without the need for any support films - a critical feature that enables users to utilize the full range of capabilities in modern high resolution TEMs.

This extremely versatile combination of sputtering, imaging, and analytical capabilities makes dual beam FIBs key componets of any world class nano-characterization facility.
CEMAS houses two dual beam FIBs: the Helios NanoLab 600, and the Nova Nanolab 600. Both are equipped with OmniProbe AutoProbe 200 in-situ lift out systems along with extremely high resolution electron columns powered by Field Emission Gun (FEG) electron sources. The Ga+ ion source on both microscopes can machine samples at a resolution down to 5nm. Aside from TEM sample preparation capabilities, both microscopes are equipped with the "Slice and View"  scripting package for 3-D reconstructions from serial sectioning (FIB-tomography). These kinds of cutting edge reconstruction tools are crucial for understanding the true 3-D morphology of today's engineering materials.Examples of FIB/SEM tomography on would biofilm and bulk metallic glass samples. On the left, tomography was used to reveal the 3D structure of wound biofilm where macrophages (large cells) engulf bacterium. Also displayed is a 3D rendering of the segmented subsection (pink). On the right, the 3D rendering of segmented crystalline dendrites from a bulk metallic glass substrate shows the benefits of combining FIB techniques and image processing. Binbin Deng and John Sosa, FIB/SEM tomography collected on the Helios FIB; using MIPAR, ImageJ, IMOD, Chimera and Avizo software programs.