Measurement and mitigation of beam damage in high-current focused ion beam milling of soft materials

Renseignements sur le financement
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Type de subvention: Programme de subventions d'engagement partenariat
  • Année: 2016/17
  • Financement total: $24,650
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Sommaire du projet

Focused Ion Beam (FIB) Microscopes are powerful tools to study the microstructure of materials in three dimensions (3D). Theyhave the capability, when used in conjuction with a scanning electron microscope (SEM), to machine materials at the nanometerscale. Using these functions in a coordinated manner, they can mill fine sections of material, followed by collection of electronimages. This 2-step process is repeated to make a set of serial sections, enabling a 3D characterization of materials. Softmaterials, such as liquids and polymers, and hard/soft composites, such as bones and fiber composites, are ideal candidates forserial sectioning. However, in order to observe representative volumes of these soft materials, a large ion beam milling current isrequired to obtain useful material removal rates. Unfortunately, high beam currents, coupled with the low thermal conductivity andmelting point of soft materials, result in thermal damage, an unsolved challenge for companies manufacturing these microscopesto serve a wide range of materials scientists, such as Systems for Research (SFR). This research endeavors to fully understanddamage mechanisms that occur to develop a thermal model of materials damage, and ultimately suggest damage mitigationprocedures for implementation into the microscope. Ultimately, this project will benefit the microscopy industry in Canada, such asSFR, by improving their offerings of systems tailored towards soft materials, increasing their relevance and market share inCanada. This will enhance Canada's position as a premier country for materials characterization, which will advance materialsdevelopment for our health and economic growth.