ORION NanoFab: Helium, Neon & Gallium FIB

From the KNI Lab at Caltech
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Nanocoil-Inductor Matthew-S-Hunt.jpg
Instrument Type Microscopy, Lithography
Techniques High-Resolution He Imaging,
He/Ne/Ga-FIB Etching,
He & Ne Ion Lithography,
Charge Compensation
(with Electron Flood Gun),
Staff Manager Alireza Ghaffari
Staff Email alireza@caltech.edu
Staff Phone 626-395-3984
Reserve time on FBS
Request training via FBS User Dashboard
Lab Location B203D Steele
Lab Phone 626-395-1548
Manufacturer ZEISS (Carl Zeiss AG)
Model ORION NanoFab


The ORION NanoFab is a focused ion beam (FIB) system capable of generating three different ion beams – helium & neon from the gas field ion source (GFIS) that is aligned on the main optical axis, and gallium offset by 54°, as in a more traditional "dual beam" FIB/SEM (scanning electron microscope). The He beam, which can be formed into a sub-0.5 nm probe size, is capable of high-resolution imaging, lithography and etching, with each performing in the sub-5 nm regime. The Ne beam, with a 1.9 nm probe size, can etch sub-15 nm features with order-of-magnitude higher volume-removal rates than He, and perform sub-10 nm lithography on resist. The Ga beam, with a 5 nm minimum probe size, can remove relatively large volumes of material by direct etching. In all, the three beams, each operating over large energy ranges (see specifications below for details), provide multitudes of nanofabrication opportunities in a single system.

Imaging Applications
  • Ultra-High-Resolution imaging (capable of resolving sub-5 nm features)
  • High depth of field imaging (compared to SEM)
  • Image non-conductive specimens using an electron flood gun for charge compensation
Etching Applications
  • Directly etch patterns into material with all three beams – He, Ne & Ga
  • Cutting & Imaging Cross-Sections (using Ga)
  • Final thinning of TEM lamellae (using Ne)
  • Pattern with Raith ELPHY MultiBeam Pattern Generator or Nanometer Patterning & Visualization Engine (NPVE)
Lithography Applications
  • High-resolution patterning on resist (35 keV He ions can perform better than 100 keV electrons)
  • Automatic alignment to markers and automated processing (manually confirmed alignment also available)
  • Resist patterning on non-conductive specimens
  • Resist Pattering on curved substrates due to high depth of field
  • Pattern with Raith ELPHY MultiBeam Pattern Generator or Nanometer Patterning & Visualization Engine (NPVE)


SOPs & Troubleshooting
Process Recipes

These process recipes highlight a possible approach for different application. There are many different ways to operate and optimize parameters and this is generally sample dependent and need to be optimized by the operator for each sample.

Video Tutorials

The resources are currently being updated. The updated tutorials will be uploaded shortly.

Graphical Handouts
Manufacturer Manuals
Simulation Software
Calibrate Measurements with NIST Standard
  • The KNI has a NIST-traceable standard against which FIB measurements can be compared. See Slides 54-55 of the SEM Presentation for details. Ask staff for help finding and using the standard in the lab.
Sample Preparation
  • Use the O2/Ar Plasma Cleaner to remove hydrocarbons from the sample surface to avoid creating hydrocarbon deposition on your features while imaging them (the ORION's in-chamber plasma cleaner can be used in extreme cases where the sample must be cleaned directly before the experiment is conducted, without exposing it to the atmosphere while transferring it from the outside cleaner to the ORION chamber; excessive numbers of chamber cleanings can have adverse effects on the ORION over time so consult with staff on how and when to do this).
  • There is no need to coat non-conductive samples, the ORION NanoFab is equipped with a floodgun which can be used for charge compensation.
  • You can of course still use the Carbon Evaporator to make non-conductive samples conductive by applying 2-10 nm of evaporated carbon (first try using the in-chamber electron flood gun to alleviate charge artifacts).
Guide to Choosing KNI SEMs & FIBs


Manufacturer Specifications
Overall System Specifications
  • Eucentric Height: ~9.1 mm working distance (WD)
  • Allowable Sample Width: 80 mm (this is the width of the load lock opening)
  • Stage Range: ±24 mm X & Y travel, 8 mm Z travel, -10 to 58° tilt, 360° rotation
  • ETD Grid Bias Range: -250 to 250 V
  • Stage Bias Range: -500 to 500 V
  • Ultimate Vacuum: 2e-7 Torr
He-FIB Specifications
  • Minimum Feature Size Resolved with He Imaging: ~3 nm
  • Minumum Probe Size: 0.35 nm
  • Voltage Range: 5 to 40 kV
  • Current Range: 0.1 to 100 pA
Ne-FIB Specifications
  • Minimum Feature Size Resolved with Ne Imaging: ~7 nm
  • Minumum Probe Size: 1.9 nm
  • Voltage Range: 5 to 35 kV
  • Current Range: 0.1 to 50 pA
Ga-FIB Specifications
  • Minimum Feature Size Resolved with Ga Imaging: ~10 nm
  • Minumum Probe Size: 3 nm
  • Voltage Range: 1 to 30 kV
  • Current Range: 1 pA to 100 nA
Electron Flood Gun Specifications
  • Probe Diameter: millimeters (can be roughly focused)
  • Voltage Range: 0.025 to 1.0 kV
  • Current: ~1 μA
  • Dwell Time Range: 50 to 10000 μs
Raith ELPHY MultiBeam Specifications
  • Shapes Available: Polygons (area dose), Single Pass Lines (line dose) & Dot Arrays (point dose) of any arbitrary shape
  • Import CAD files as .dxf or .gds files
  • Writing Speed: 20 MHz
  • Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC): 16-bit

Related Instrumentation in the KNI

Focused Ion Beam (FIB) Systems
Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEMs)
Sample Preparation for Microscopy
Transmission Electron Microscopes
Scanning Probe Microscopes