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: Boron-based atomic clusters mimic rare-earth metals

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/

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

European physicist discusses Higgs boson at Brown University

3 hours ago

The head of the European Organization for Nuclear Research says the historic 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson particle and the particle accelerator that detected it are getting scientists closer to understanding the creation ...

Boron-based atomic clusters mimic rare-earth metals

Apr 17, 2015

Rare Earth elements, found in the f-block of the periodic table, have particular magnetic and optical properties that make them valuable commodities. This has been particularly true over the last thirty years ...

Accurately counting ions from laboratory radiation exposure

Apr 15, 2015

Thermoluminescence is used extensively in archaeology and the earth sciences to date artifacts and rocks. When exposed to radiation, quartz emits light proportional to the energy it absorbs. Replicating the very low dose ...

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.