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Understanding Imaging and Metrology with the Helium Ion Microscope



Michael T. Postek, Andras Vladar, Bin Ming


The development of accurate metrology for the characterization of nanomaterials is one barrier to innovation confronting all phases of nanotechnology. Ultra-high resolution microscopy is a key technology needed to achieve this goal. But, current microscope technology is being pushed to its limits. The scanning and transmission electron microscopes have incrementally improved in performance and other scanned probe technologies such as atomic force microscopy, scanning tunneling microscopy and focused ion beam microscopes have all been applied to nanotechnology with various levels of success. A relatively new tool for nanotechnology is the scanning helium ion microscope (HIM). The HIM is a new complimentary imaging and metrology technology for nanotechnology which may be able to push the current resolution barrier lower. But, successful imaging and metrology with this instrument entails new ion beam/specimen interaction physics which must be fully understood. As a new methodology, HIM is beginning to show promise and the plethora of potentially advantageous applications for nanotechnology have yet to be exploited. This presentation will discuss some of the progress made at NIST in understanding the science behind this new technique.
Proceedings Title
Conference Dates
May 11-15, 2009
Conference Location
Albany, NY


Helium ion, microscopy, HIM, scanning electron microscope, SEM, nanomanufacturing, nanometrology


Postek, M. , Vladar, A. and Ming, B. (2009), Understanding Imaging and Metrology with the Helium Ion Microscope, FRONTIERS OF CHARACTERIZATION AND METROLOGY FOR NANOELECTRONICS , Albany, NY, [online], (Accessed June 14, 2024)


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Created March 1, 2009, Updated February 19, 2017