High brightness inductively coupled plasma source for high current focused ion beam applications

N. S. Smith*, W. P. Skoczylas, S. M. Kellogg, D. E. Kinion, P. P. Tesch, O. Sutherland, A. Aanesland, R. W. Boswell

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    121 Citations (Scopus)


    A high brightness plasma ion source has been developed to address focused ion beam (FIB) applications not satisfied by the liquid metal ion source (LMIS) based FIB. The plasma FIB described here is capable of satisfying applications requiring high mill rates (>100 μ m3 s) with non-gallium ions and has demonstrated imaging capabilities with sub- 100-nm resolution. The virtual source size, angular intensity, mass spectra, and energy spread of the source have been determined with argon and xenon. This magnetically enhanced, inductively coupled plasma source has exhibited a reduced brightness (Βr) of 5.4× 103 A m-2 sr-1 V-1, with a full width half maximum axial energy spread (ΔE) of 10 eV when operated with argon. With xenon, Βr =9.1× 103 A m-2 sr-1 V-1 and ΔE=7 eV. With these source parameters, an optical column with sufficient demagnification is capable of forming a sub- 25-nm spot size at 30 keV and 1 pA. The angular intensity of this source is nominally three orders of magnitude greater than a LMIS making the source more amenable to creating high current focused beams, in the regime where spherical aberration dominates the LMIS-FIB. The source has been operated on a two lens ion column and has demonstrated a current density that exceeds that of the LMIS-FIB for current greater than 50 nA. Source lifetime and current stability are excellent with inert and reactive gases. Additionally, it should be possible to improve both the brightness and energy spread of this source, such that the (Βr Δ E2) figure-of-merit could be within an order of magnitude of a LMIS.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2902-2906
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology B: Microelectronics and Nanometer Structures
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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