Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopy (FIB-SEM)

Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopy
FIB-SEM cross-section of a pixel array, showing underlying nm-scale device features

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Like other high-resolution scanning electron microscopes, Focused-ion-beam scanning electron microscopes (FIB-SEMs) are used to produce 2D and 3D images of surface topography, and are able to resolve nm-scale features on a sample surface.

The FIB allows advanced analytical workflows such as: cross-section, tomography, lithography, lamella prep, and many others.

  • Ultra-high resolution imaging capabilities (limit resolution is < 1 nm)
  • Able to image multi-modal, sub-surface, and 3D information
  • FIB enables precise manipulation of sample in-situ: cutting, cleaving, trenching, exposing, and ion-welding of different fragments on the sample for imaging and analysis
  • Analysis is destructive
  • Insulating materials impair precision of ion beam action and reduce imaging resolution
Base Prices
Technique Variants
Pricing Starts At
Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopy (FIB-SEM)
$450 / Hour
FIB-SEM with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS)

Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS / EDX) provides a quantitative measurement of elemental composition, and insight into the elements’ distribution within a scanned area.

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$475 / Hour
FIB-SEM with Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD)

Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) is performed during FIB-SEM analysis to investigate crystal properties, including crystal structure, orientation, phase boundaries, and the degree of crystalline perfection.

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$600 / Hour
FIB-SEM: 3D Reconstruction by Tomography

FIB-SEM Tomography produces 3D reconstructed volumes from serial sample images collected using 3D Slice N’ View. It allows internal / subsurface reconstruction of morphological and chemical information on a micro- to nanoscale.

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Plasma FIB-SEM

Plasma Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopy (PFIB-SEM) substitutes high-current plasma ion species for the conventional Ga+ ions in FIB systems. This enables ultra-fast milling of large volumes and facilitates new kinds of analysis on unconventional materials: including organic samples.

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SEM / FIB with Cryogenic Temperatures
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Covalent Live View
Free with Purchase of FIB-SEM Services
Example Outputs

FIB-SEM cross-section of a pixel array, showing underlying nm-scale device features.

Instruments Used for FIB-SEM
Thermo Scientific Helios 5 DualBeam

Thermo Scientific Helios 5 DualBeam

  • Maximum Horizontal Field Width: 2.3 mm at 4 mm WD
  • Electron Beam:
    • Resolution Limit: 0.7 nm at 1 kV
    • Current Range: 0.8 pA to 100 nA
    • Accelerating Voltage Range: 350 V to 30 kV
  • Ion Beam:
  • Electron Beam:
    • Resolution Limit: 4.0 nm at 30 kV using preferred statistical method
    • Current Range: 1 pA to 100 nA
    • Accelerating Voltage Range: 500 V to 30kV
  • View Instrument Spec Sheet

Thermo Scientific Scios DualBeam

Optimized to achieve best performance across a wide array of sample types.

  • Powerful charge neutralization
  • Enables analysis on magnetic samples
  • Able to operate above vacuum pressure
Sample Requirements
  • Solid phase
  • Must be vacuum stable
  • Maximum Sample Height: 55 mm
  • Maximum Sample Weight: 500 g (including sample-holder)
  • Maximum Lateral Dimension: 150 mm (larger samples enabled with reduced rotation)
How FIB-SEM Works

On a FIB-SEM, the added focused-ion-beam allows for in situ sample manipulation. Normally the FIB beam is used to cross-section the sample at a precise location, but it can accomplish many other tasks such as: tomography, lithography, lamella prep, and more.

The imaging capabilities of the scanning-electron-beam in a FIB-SEM work as they do in any other SEM: the system generates an image by detecting electrons scattered by a highly-focused, high-energy applied electron beam as it is raster-scanned over the surface of a sample.

The secondary focused-ion-beam is comprised of high-energy, charged atoms (most commonly Ga+). When applied to the sample, the FIB can be tuned to either ablate material from the surface, or deposit atoms of an accompanying neutral gas.

Additionally, both in-house FIB-SEM instruments at Covalent also incorporate energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) detectors that enable measurement and mapping of elemental composition alongside all other FIB-SEM operations.

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