Nano-scale techniques based on finely focused ion beams are omnipresent not just in materials science, but also in life sciences. They fall primarily into three groups: FIB machining, imaging (no chemical information) and analysis (chemical information).
Common to all techniques is that high-brightness ion sources are desired to produce very finely focused ion probes, and thus extremely high lateral resolution, while keeping a sufficiently high current compatible with a reasonable erosion rate or large yield of secondary electrons/ions. In addition, the species used for the ion beams is of great importance in all of the areas mentioned above. It has a strong impact on parameters such as the sputtering yield and etching effects in FIB, secondary electron yields in imaging, the ionization probability of sputtered particles and thus the sensitivity and the dimensions of the collision cascade generated in the target and formation or suppression of surface roughness during analysis.
Our ion source developments include a novel high brightness Cs+ ion source and negative surface ionization sources.