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Teaching an Old Material New Tricks: Easy and Inexpensive Focused Ion Beam (FIB) Sample Protection Using Conductive Polymers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 May 2017

Joshua A. Taillon*
Affiliation:
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Valery Ray
Affiliation:
PBS&T, MEO Engineering Company, 290 Broadway, Suite 298, Methuen, MA 01844, USA
Lourdes G. Salamanca-Riba
Affiliation:
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
*
* Corresponding author. joshua.taillon@nist.gov

Abstract

This letter describes an innovative spin-coating system, built from off-the-shelf components, that can easily and inexpensively be integrated into any laboratory environment. Combined with a liquid suspension of conductive polymer, such a “rotary coater” enables simple coating of planar samples to create a physical protective barrier on the sample surface. This barrier aids in charge dissipation during scanning electron microscope and focused ion beam (FIB) imaging and provides wide-scale protection of the sample surface from ion bombardment during FIB imaging and gas-assisted deposition. This polymer layer replaces the localized and time-consuming electron beam deposition step typically performed during transmission electron microscopy lamella preparation. After observation, the coating can be easily removed, if desired. The described spin-coating procedure has minimal cost while providing repeatable positive results, without the need for expensive commercial coating instrumentation.

Type
Micrographia
Copyright
© Microscopy Society of America 2017 

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Footnotes

Current address: Material Measurement Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899, USA.

References

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Teaching an Old Material New Tricks: Easy and Inexpensive Focused Ion Beam (FIB) Sample Protection Using Conductive Polymers
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