Professor Elizabeth Dickey recently won a 2020 NSF MRI award to acquire the latest plasma Focused Ion Beam (pFIB) system. The Helios 5 Hydra CX is a focused ion beam (FIB) instrument with multiple ion species. The instrument enables and supports a diverse range of research projects and programs, within academia and industry, that involve three-dimensional, multi-modal characterization and patterning of microstructures. Such three-dimensional analysis is particularly important for developing materials processing strategies for additive manufacturing and for understanding mechanisms leading to material degradation and failure. In addition, the nano-patterning capabilities of the instrument provide precision engineering of novel nanometer-scale optical and mechanical devices.
The maximum current on the ion beam is 2.5uA providing greater removal rates for an increased throughput. This instrument also allows for polishing at 500V to greatly reduce damage in TEM samples. The Hydra FIB equips Mutlichem deposition of Pt, W or C and with the Thermo Easy Lift NanoManipulator for extraction and placement of TEM samples. The instrument features several detectors such as an In-lens SE/BSE detector (TLD_SE, TLD-BSE), in-column SE/BSE detector (ICD), Everhart-Thornlry SE detector (ETD), Ion Detector (ICE) for secondary ions (SI) and electrons and a retractable solid state backscatter detector (DBS). The instrument also has a EBSD and EDS detector. The Hydra FIB will be located at AIF and be broadly utilized by other academic and industry research communities via the Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network (RTNN), a node of the NSF National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI). It is expected that the pFIB will arrive in early 2021 and be available for general use a few months later.