Nanoscale focused ion beams (FIBs) represent one of the most useful tools in nanotechnology, enabling nanofabrication via milling and gas-assisted deposition, microscopy and microanalysis, and selective, spatially resolved doping of materials. Recently, a new type of FIB source has emerged, which uses ionization of laser cooled neutral atoms to produce the ion beam. The extremely cold temperatures attainable with laser cooling (in the range of 100 µK or below) result in a beam of ions with a very small transverse velocity distribution. This corresponds to a source with extremely high brightness that rivals or even exceeds the brightness of the industry standard Ga+ liquid metal ion source. In this review we discuss the context of ion beam technology in which these new ion sources can play a role, their principles of operation, and some examples of recent demonstrations. The field is relatively new, so only a few applications have been demonstrated, most notably low energy ion microscopy with Li ions. Nevertheless, a number of promising new approaches have been proposed and/or demonstrated, suggesting that a rapid evolution of this type of source is likely in the near future.
Applied Physics Reviews
focused ion beam, cold atoms, laser cooling, ion source, FIB, MOTIS, ion optics