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: Uncovering the forbidden side of molecules

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

Uncovering the forbidden side of molecules

1 hour ago

Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland have succeeded in observing the "forbidden" infrared spectrum of a charged molecule for the first time. These extremely weak spectra offer perspectives ...

How Paramecium protozoa claw their way to the top

Sep 19, 2014

The ability to swim upwards – towards the sun and food supplies – is vital for many aquatic microorganisms. Exactly how they are able to differentiate between above and below in often murky waters is ...

User comments : 0