2013 Volume 48 Issue 3 Pages 154-158
Along with the development of nanostructured materials and devices, novel microscopic methods which can characterize the fine surface structures with a nanoscale resolution as close as the real ones are highly demanded. Scanning helium ion microscope (SHIM) is one of such microscopic instruments. SHIM has advantages such as the high spatial resolution, large depth-of-focus, and high material contrast by using a helium ion beam instead of the electron beam while its operability is similar to general scanning electron microscope (SEM). Equipped with electron gun to neutralize electric charging, SHIM enables us to observe insulators without the coating of conductive thin films. In NIMS we have developed a device for the in situ sample heating and have succeeded in the high resolution SHIM observation of various materials at the elevated temperatures. On the other hand, it is possible for the helium ion beam to process a nanoscale direct lithography. Moreover, by installing the devices which may introduce a wide range of gases, using the ion beam induced gas decomposition and deposition, SHIM can create nanoscale structures made of metallic and semiconductor materials. This equipment is one of the shared facilities of NIMS microstructural characterization platform and offers the technical support for domestic and international research.