Preparation of TEM-Samples

By Manipulation in a FIB Chamber

The following small images show the antiquated method of lamella handling with a tilting Nanomanipulator, developed in 1998 by Klocke Nanotechnik:

Fig. 1: SEM-picture of the lamella

Fig. 2: Nanomanipulator in a FIB chamber

Fig. 3: Sketch of the preparation principle

Fig. 4: Outmoded manual process of lamella handling without any in-situ process sensing and control, no automation

The preparation of TEM lamellae with manipulators installed inside of Focussed Ion Beam or dual beam chambers came possible in the year 1998, by the tilting Nanomanipulator of Klocke Nanotechnik, see Application paper based on the work of D. Katzer, Fraunhofer Institut für Werkstoffmechanik Halle in the download area on the right and the picture sequence on the left.

Tilting manipulators mix the movement directions during operation, and it is very difficult to hit small objects reliable. Consequently we deveoped our Cartesian Nanorobotics manipulators and gave up selling tilting devices. The following description points out how easy TEM lamella handling can be with our Nanorobotics in automation:

The Nanorobotics method for TEM lamella preparation:

Actual Focussed Ion Beam or dual beam chambers include features like pattern recognition of Lamella structures and the MOCVD process to deposit a metal out of a metal-organic gas with the help of the Ion beam: exactly at an area defined in the picture. These features allow an automatic TEM lamella preparation and handling, when the used manipulator is an absolute positioning device and includes software for automation. This is the case for our High Performance Nanorobotics manipulators. The following process describes the advantage of using our system for high throughput TEM Lamella preparation:

Automatic Sequence:

  • FIB moves lamella into the center of the image. The lamella is already cut at its bottom, but not at both side walls, see following image:

Lamella positioned by pattern recognition and 2 crosses as markers

  • Tip is moved automatically with the Nanorobotics manipulator e.g. beneath the left marker
  • Tip moves down with Automatic Tip Approach module in 1 nm increment, also onto isolating samples
  • Tip is moved up e.g. 1 micron and moved in XY towards the lamella
  • Tip is moved down 1.2 microns to hover beneath the lamella
  • Tip is moved with the Automatic Tip Approach from the side against the lamella
  • The FIB connects the tip with the lamella by MOCVD deposition e.g. of Tungsten
  • During that process the distance between tip and lamella is kept constant within +- 2 nm in closed loop
    => no upcoming force between tip and lamella, no spontaneous breakage of the lamella
  • The FIB cuts the lamella on both sides
  • The Manipulator lifts up the lamella and moves it into a target position

Outer sequence to identify a target position:

  • Move the target into the center of the image
  • Tip moves automatically in XY into the center (fixed programmed working position)
  • Tip is moved down with Automatic Tip Approach module
  • Height position is stored in a variable
  • Remove probe tip and start upper lamella extraction sequence
  • After the lift out process the lamella can be placed exactly onto the target position

This degree of automation allows a very fast and precise TEM lamella preparation.

Rely on our long time experience of Nanorobotics and Automation in Scanning Electron/Ion Microscopes!

Nanorobotics in automation for High Throughput TEM lamella preparation.
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