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Focused Ion Beam Preparation of Specimens for Micro-Electro-Mechanical System-based Transmission Electron Microscopy Heating Experiments

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2017

Sriram Vijayan
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Institute of Materials Science, University of Connecticut, Unit 3136, 97 North Eagleville Road, Storrs, CT 06269-3136, USA
Joerg R. Jinschek
FEI Company, Achtseweg Noord 5, Eindhoven 5651GG, The Netherlands
Stephan Kujawa
FEI Company, Achtseweg Noord 5, Eindhoven 5651GG, The Netherlands
Jens Greiser
FEI Company, Achtseweg Noord 5, Eindhoven 5651GG, The Netherlands
Mark Aindow*
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Institute of Materials Science, University of Connecticut, Unit 3136, 97 North Eagleville Road, Storrs, CT 06269-3136, USA
*Corresponding author.
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Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS)-based heating holders offer exceptional control of temperature and heating/cooling rates for transmission electron microscopy experiments. The use of such devices is relatively straightforward for nano-particulate samples, but the preparation of specimens from bulk samples by focused ion beam (FIB) milling presents significant challenges. These include: poor mechanical integrity and site selectivity of the specimen, ion beam damage to the specimen and/or MEMS device during thinning, and difficulties in transferring the specimen onto the MEMS device. Here, we describe a novel FIB protocol for the preparation and transfer of specimens from bulk samples, which involves a specimen geometry that provides mechanical support to the electron-transparent region, while maximizing the area of that region and the contact area with the heater plate on the MEMS chip. The method utilizes an inclined stage block that minimizes exposure of the chip to the ion beam during milling. This block also allows for accurate and gentle placement of the FIB-cut specimen onto the chip by using simultaneous electron and ion beam imaging during transfer. Preliminary data from Si and Ag on Si samples are presented to demonstrate the quality of the specimens that can be obtained and their stability during in situ heating experiments.

Materials Science Applications
© Microscopy Society of America 2017 

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Current address: Department of Materials Science and Engineering, The Ohio State University, 2041 N. College Rd. Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


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