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Introduction to Focused Ion Beams: Instrumentation, Theory, Techniques and Practice

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The focused ion beam (FIB) instrument has experienced an intensive period of maturation since its inception. Numerous new techniques and applications have been brought to fruition by the tireless efforts of some very innovative scientists with the foresight to recognize the potential of this upstart apparatus. Over the past few years, the FIB has gained acceptance as more than just an expensive sample preparation tool, and has taken its place among the suite of other instruments commonly available in analytical and forensic laboratories, universities, geological, medical and biological research institutions, manufacturing plants, and more. The applications for FIB that have yet to be realized are endless. The future for this instrument is certain to be filled with innovation and excitement.

Although the utility of the FIB is not limited to the preparation of specimens for subsequent analysis by other analytical techniques, it has revolutionized the area of TEM specimen preparation. One anecdotal example is relayed by Lucille Giannuzzi, one of the editors of this book. Approximately 18 months of Lucille’s graduate research effort was devoted to the development of a TEM specimen preparation technique for the crosssection analysis of galvanized steel. Upon her introduction to an FEI 611 FIB in 1995, the value of the FIB instrument, which was then capable of preparing TEM specimens of semiconductor materials in about five hours, was overwhelmingly and immediately apparent.

Today’s FIB instruments can prepare TEM specimens in less than an hour. The FIB has also been used to prepare samples for numerous other analytical techniques, and offers a wide range of other capabilities. While the mainstream of FIB usage remains within the semiconductor industry, FIB usage has expanded to applications in metallurgy, ceramics, composites, polymers, geology, art, biology, Pharmaceuticals, forensics, and other disciplines. In addition, the FIB has been used to prepare samples for numerous other analytical techniques. Computer automated procedures have been configured for unattended use of FIB and dual platform instruments. New applications of FIB and dual platform instrumentation are constantly being developed for materials characterization and nanotechnology. The site specific nature of the FIB milling and deposition capabilities allows preparation and processing of materials in ways that are limited only by one’s imagination. Additional uses and applications will likely have been discovered by the time that this volume hits the shelves. The hardest task in editing this compilation was to decide when to stop and send it to press.

In this book we have attempted to produce a reference on FIB geared towards techniques and applications. The first portion of this book introduces the basics of FIB instrumentation, milling, and deposition capabilities. The chapter dedicated to ion-solid interactions is presented so that the FIB user can understand which parameters will influence FIB milling behavior. The remainder of the book focuses on how to prepare and analyze samples using FIB and related tools, and presents specific applications and techniques of the uses of FIB milling, deposition, and dual platform techniques. May you have as much fun working with FIB instruments as we continue to have!!
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