CNST collaboration demonstrates nanoscale focused ion beam employing laser-cooled lithium atoms

Dec 15, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- A team of researchers from the NIST Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology and FEI Company have adapted a commercial focused ion beam (FIB) column to use photoionized laser-cooled lithium atoms as an ion source, and demonstrated that NIST’s patented Magneto-Optical Trap Ion Source (MOTIS) offers imaging performance competitive with the liquid metal ion sources used in most FIBs.

In a MOTIS, a gas of atoms is laser-cooled to ≈ 100 μK and then photoionized. The ions are accelerated to the desired energy, forming a highly monochromatic beam that is amenable to nanoscale focusing when provided as input to a commercial focused beam column. The light mass and low surface sputtering rate of laser-cooled allowed the researchers to demonstrate non-destructive imaging with a characteristic focal spot size of 26.7 nm ± 1.0 nm at 2 kV.

As predicted theoretically, the focal spot size was shown to depend on the temperature of the laser-cooled atoms and on the energy. The researchers anticipate further improvements to the system spot size for enhanced imaging. These results demonstrate that NIST’s new ion source may enable a wide range of new applications — from nanoscale imaging and defect metrology to ion implantation and material modification.

Explore further: New filter could advance terahertz data transmission

More information: Nanoscale focused ion beam from laser-cooled lithium atoms, B. Knuffman, A. V. Steele, J. Orloff, and J. J. McClelland, New Journal of Physics 13, 103035 (2011). iopscience.iop.org/1367-2630/13/10/103035/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New Research Promises Better Atomic Clocks

Apr 22, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The most accurate timekeepers in the world are atomic clocks, which tell time based on the absorption of a very specific and unchanging microwave frequency, which induces electrons in an atom to “jump” ...

Recommended for you

New filter could advance terahertz data transmission

Feb 27, 2015

University of Utah engineers have discovered a new approach for designing filters capable of separating different frequencies in the terahertz spectrum, the next generation of communications bandwidth that ...

The super-resolution revolution

Feb 27, 2015

Cambridge scientists are part of a resolution revolution. Building powerful instruments that shatter the physical limits of optical microscopy, they are beginning to watch molecular processes as they happen, ...

A new X-ray microscope for nanoscale imaging

Feb 27, 2015

Delivering the capability to image nanostructures and chemical reactions down to nanometer resolution requires a new class of x-ray microscope that can perform precision microscopy experiments using ultra-bright ...

Top-precision optical atomic clock starts ticking

Feb 26, 2015

A state-of-the-art optical atomic clock, collaboratively developed by scientists from the University of Warsaw, Jagiellonian University, and Nicolaus Copernicus University, is now "ticking away" at the National ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.