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1.  Digging gold: keV He+ ion interaction with Au 
Helium ion microscopy (HIM) was used to investigate the interaction of a focused He+ ion beam with energies of several tens of kiloelectronvolts with metals. HIM is usually applied for the visualization of materials with extreme surface sensitivity and resolution. However, the use of high ion fluences can lead to significant sample modifications. We have characterized the changes caused by a focused He+ ion beam at normal incidence to the Au{111} surface as a function of ion fluence and energy. Under the influence of the beam a periodic surface nanopattern develops. The periodicity of the pattern shows a power-law dependence on the ion fluence. Simultaneously, helium implantation occurs. Depending on the fluence and primary energy, porous nanostructures or large blisters form on the sample surface. The growth of the helium bubbles responsible for this effect is discussed.
PMCID: PMC3740815  PMID: 23946914
formation and healing of defects in crystals; helium ion microscopy; ion beam/solid interactions; vacancies in crystals
2.  Imaging ultra thin layers with helium ion microscopy: Utilizing the channeling contrast mechanism 
Background: Helium ion microscopy is a new high-performance alternative to classical scanning electron microscopy. It provides superior resolution and high surface sensitivity by using secondary electrons.
Results: We report on a new contrast mechanism that extends the high surface sensitivity that is usually achieved in secondary electron images, to backscattered helium images. We demonstrate how thin organic and inorganic layers as well as self-assembled monolayers can be visualized on heavier element substrates by changes in the backscatter yield. Thin layers of light elements on heavy substrates should have a negligible direct influence on backscatter yields. However, using simple geometric calculations of the opaque crystal fraction, the contrast that is observed in the images can be interpreted in terms of changes in the channeling probability.
Conclusion: The suppression of ion channeling into crystalline matter by adsorbed thin films provides a new contrast mechanism for HIM. This dechanneling contrast is particularly well suited for the visualization of ultrathin layers of light elements on heavier substrates. Our results also highlight the importance of proper vacuum conditions for channeling-based experimental methods.
PMCID: PMC3458595  PMID: 23019545
channeling; contrast mechanism; helium ion microscopy; ion scattering; thin layers
3.  Channeling in helium ion microscopy: Mapping of crystal orientation 
Background: The unique surface sensitivity and the high resolution that can be achieved with helium ion microscopy make it a competitive technique for modern materials characterization. As in other techniques that make use of a charged particle beam, channeling through the crystal structure of the bulk of the material can occur.
Results: Here, we demonstrate how this bulk phenomenon affects secondary electron images that predominantly contain surface information. In addition, we will show how it can be used to obtain crystallographic information. We will discuss the origin of channeling contrast in secondary electron images, illustrate this with experiments, and develop a simple geometric model to predict channeling maxima.
Conclusion: Channeling plays an important role in helium ion microscopy and has to be taken into account when trying to achieve maximum image quality in backscattered helium images as well as secondary electron images. Secondary electron images can be used to extract crystallographic information from bulk samples as well as from thin surface layers, in a straightforward manner.
PMCID: PMC3458594  PMID: 23019544
channeling; crystallography; helium ion microscopy; ion scattering

Results 1-3 (3)