What is FIB-SEM Nanofabrication?

Focused ion beam (FIB) systems, and mainly, integrated focused ion beam and scanning electron microscopes (FIB-SEM) are widely used for a range of analytical tasks as well as sample preparation. These are dual beam systems that integrate a SEM and FIB column, where SEM is the priority method used for high-resolution imaging and can be complemented with numerous detectors such as: backscatter electron (BSE), energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX), or secondary electron (SE).

Hall Bar structure on 3D Dirac semimetal Cd3As2

Hall Bar structure on 3D Dirac semimetal Cd3As2; Enze Zhang, Fudan University, China. Image credit: Raith

These applications are supported by FIB with regards to sample preparation or cross-sectioning so as to spread into third dimension or to ultra-thin parts of the sample. The third dimension enables higher resolution, as well as use in other microscopes like transmission electron microscopy (TEM) or atom probe tomography (APT). Preparation of APT tips or TEM lamella has become one of the key applications for FIB-SEM. Furthermore, simultaneous SEM imaging and FIB cutting enable 3D tomography with nanometer resolution and reconstruction of intricate structures.

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

FIB-SEM Nanofabrication

FIB microscopy is extensively used by a growing number of applications for rapid prototyping. Being an ideal partner for other lithography techniques, FIB nanofabrication offers essential strengths such as 3D, direct and resistless patterning. Despite FIB milling being slower than a resist-accelerated process in a number of cases, the relative simplification of the total nanofabrication approach helps attain scientific results more rapidly. Methods like gas-assisted etching, deposition and milling are particularly efficient and versatile approaches for direct processing of new materials.

To broaden the onboard capabilities of FIB-SEM microscopes towards automated nanofabrication of more multifaceted devices and shapes, a nanolithography upgrade kit can be used. The ELPHY Multi Beam offers an advanced package of software system and pattern generator for extra capabilities without diminishing the microscope’s original imaging and analytical functionality. Thus, by connecting an ELPHY MultiBeam, any FIB-SEM can be extended toward a nanofabrication system.

FIB-SEM Nanofabrication

Turn your FIB-SEM into a nanofabrication tool by attaching an ELPHY MultiBeam to it. Image credit: Raith

Focused Ion Beam Nanofabrication

ionLINE Plus is a critical FIB nanofabrication tool as it offers unmatched stability, high resolution and versatility by combining various FIB processing methods with all the benefits of a lithography system. The ionLINE Plus FIB system uses FIB as the main method and is based on a mature lithography system, especially the laser interferometer stage.

The ionLINE Plus offers unmatched stability and accuracy for truly uninterrupted writing, field stitching, and large-area sample navigation, besides its benefits in FIB. This unique functionality can be applied to advanced nanofabrication of:

  • Small batches for membrane or NEMS devices such as nanopores
  • Extended 3D structures such as microfluidic mixers
  • X-ray zone plates, or any intricate pattern on tough materials
  • Large-area gratings with best placement accuracy
  • Arrays with numerous finest features such as plasmonic nanoantennas

Furthermore, FIB technology has been extended beyond gallium to accept delivery of numerous selectable ion species into a nanometer-scale focused ion beam. These ions include gold or silicon with the potential of groundbreaking ion implantation, functionalization, and lower contamination processes, paving the way for a number of nanofabrication approaches that are yet to be investigated.

Application Examples FIB-SEM


Hall bar and FIB devices based on a Cd3As2 nanobelt sample (Enze Zhang, Fudan University, China). Image credit: Raith

Ring of plasmonics

Ring of plasmonics (Thomas Loeber, TU Kaiserslautern, Germany). Image credit: Raith

Cd3As2 nano-cross

Cd3As2 nano-cross (Weiyi Wang, Fudan University, China). Image credit: Raith


ionLINE Plus

FIB Nanofabrication at its Excellence

Customers can choose the ionLINE Plus to sort their nanofabrication problems and eventually gain from the synergy of a mature lithography architecture and focused ion beam. Using all versatile FIB methods, ionLINE Plus supports 3D and direct patterning with maximum resolution.

ionLINE Plus

Image credit: Raith

ELPHY MultiBeam

Unlock the full nanopatterning potential of SEM, FIB-SEM, or HIM

ELPHY MultiBeam is the perfect solution as it supports current FIB-SEM, HIM, or SEM for state-of-the-art nanolithography. It includes all wide-ranging versatile nano-patterning functionalities and provides the maximum placement resolution and accuracy.

ELPHY MultiBeam

Image credit: Raith


This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Raith.

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