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TEM Sample Preparation and FIB-Induced Damage

  • Joachim Mayer, Lucille A. Giannuzzi, Takeo Kamino and Joseph Michael

One of the most important applications of a focused ion beam (FIB) workstation is preparing samples for transmission electron microscope (TEM) investigation. Samples must be uniformly thin to enable the analyzing beam of electrons to penetrate. The FIB enables not only the preparation of large, uniformly thick, sitespecific samples, but also the fabrication of lamellae used for TEM samples from composite samples consisting of inorganic and organic materials with very different properties. This article gives an overview of the variety of techniques that have been developed to prepare the final TEM specimen. The strengths of these methods as well as the problems, such as FIB-induced damage and Ga contamination, are illustrated with examples. Most recently, FIB-thinned lamellae were used to improve the spatial resolution of electron backscatter diffraction and energy-dispersive x-ray mapping. Examples are presented to illustrate the capabilities, difficulties, and future potential of FIB.

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