Laser Cooled Focused Ion Beams

Advances in the semiconductor industry lead to ever smaller feature sizes on processed silicon wafers. As a result, the tools for observing, modifying and repairing wafers must be updated as well. One of the most important tools is the focused-ion beam (FIB), which among others is used for inspection through nanoscale milling. In this project we aim to develop an entirely new source concept for FIBs to allow milling on the 1 nanometer scale. The idea is to extract ions from a cloud or beam of laser-cooled atoms. This will allow for ion beams with much smaller longitudinal energy spread (20 meV demonstrated) than the current industry standard, the liquid-metal ion source (LMI) can provide. At the same time, the brightness of the new source is compatible with that of the LMI due to its very low transverse temperature (<1 milliKelvin).

People involved: The following people are or have been involved in this project:

PhD studentsNicola Debernardi and Wouter Engelen
MSc studentsRoland van Vliembergen
Recent PhD graduatesMerijn Reijnders, Gabriel Taban and Bert Claessens
Recent MSc/BSc graduatesKees Hermans and Thijs Clevis
Staff membersBas van der Geer, Peter Mutsaers, Edgar Vredenbregt  and Jom Luiten

Funding for this project is provided by The Technology Foundation STW. The project is sponsored by FEI Company, Philips Research and Pulsar Physics