TEM sample preparation using Focused Ion Beam (FIB) methods becomes more and more interesting for microscopists because the technique allows for reliable and very efficient sample preparation. The first application of TEM sample preparation by FIB-cutting was reported more than 10 years ago. Meanwhile, a lot of experience has been gathered that allows one to discuss the capabilities and limits of the FIB technique in detail.
Several TEM sample preparation techniques are known that all include FIB-cutting but differ in sample pre-preparation, sample handling, etc. This paper focuses on the actual FIB process, FIB tools are closely related to Scanning Electron Microscopes, but instead of an electron beam an ion beam (mostly Ga+ ions) is used to remove and deposit material.