Scanning Ion Microscopy with Low Energy Lithium Ions
Kevin A. Twedt, Lei Chen, Jabez J. McClelland
Using an ion source based on photoionization of laser-cooled lithium atoms, we have developed a scanning ion microscope with probe sizes of a few tens of nanometers and beam energies from 500 eV to 5 keV. These beam energies are much lower than the typical operating energies of the helium ion microscope or gallium focused ion beam systems. We demonstrate how low energy can be advantageous in ion microscopy when detecting backscattered ions, due to a decreased interaction volume and the potential for surface sensitive composition analysis. As an example application that demonstrates these advantages, we non-destructively image the removal of a thin residual resist layer during plasma etching in a nano-imprint lithography process.