Joint focused ion beam (FIB) facility for nanofabrication and nanocharacterization
The dual beam FIB (focused ion beam) system allows the controlled restructuring, removal or deposition of material with a lateral resolution of just a few nanometer. By bombarding a sample with a low-energy, focused ion beam, one can create nanostructure with a specific size and shape, modify their structure, or electrically isolate them from their vicinity. Hence, the properties can be tuned at nanometer scale. Moreover, this process allows to select and prepare a specific nanostructure for further structural, chemical or functional analysis with microscopy, tomography or other techniques. Obviously, excellent control of this process requires continuously monitoring the sample throughout the ion bombardment. This imaging is done by detecting how a focused electron beam interacts with the sample, revealing the exact position of the ion beam, the evolution of the sample shape and composition, etc. The combination of controlled growth and modification with atomic scale characterization of single nanostructures will allow this consortium to disentangling the mechanisms that govern the altered properties when reducing sizes to the nm, which is the backbone of nanotechnology.