FIB-SEM Nanofabrication: Key Strengths for Benchmark Applications

FIB or Focused Ion Beam technology has come into its own in the last couple of decades. In combination with Scanning Electron Microscopy or SEM, the FIB technique becomes more versatile and able to handle many different functions.

The FIB-SEM process of microscopy and lab analysis is commonly used. It becomes even more valuable as the FIB-SEM microscope system can handle tasks of basic patterning and sample preparation. The FIB-SEM system designed by Raith has become a nanofabrication and 3D patterning tool that also manages to handle top-down lithography. Researchers can use the FIB-SEM designed around the FIB as the primary patterning technique to take advantage of the unique capabilities afforded by focused ions, use the microscopy techniques as well as laser interferometer stage capabilities. This makes the Raith system unique and formidable when compared to other options available.

Strengths and Limitations of EBL

Electron Beam Lithography or EBL is a popular technique for a dedicated nanofabrication system in the industry. The system uses a focused beam of electrons on an electron sensitive film to create the nanostructures. It offers accurate results with best positional and beam current stability. It is effortless to use and industry standard GDSII designs software, advanced beam control, navigation, and true automation allow the creation of nanostructures quickly and accurately on flat surfaces. However, EBL is not able to work as well on topographic surfaces for patterning. The definition of three dimensional shapes becomes complicated to handle.

Number of steps for e.g. lift-off process is strongly reduced in case of FIB (right) compared to EBL approach (left).

Figure 1. Number of steps for e.g. lift-off process is strongly reduced in case of FIB (right) compared to EBL approach (left). Image credit: Raith

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