As semiconductor device sizes continue to decrease, the degree of accuracy needed for electron microscopy and microanalyis of such materials increases. To achieve such accuracy, small electron probes with high beam currents are needed. The combination of these two factors results in an increase in the amount of carbonaceous contamination formed on the specimen under the electron beam. Recently, the use of low energy plasmas has been shown to be effective in preventing such contamination from occurring [1–7]. For TEM, the simultaneous placement of the specimen holder and specimen into such a plasma for short periods of time results in the ability to hold a converged probe on the specimen for analysis without contamination becoming an problem. Furthermore, in this presentation we show that existing contamination from prior TEM analysis can be removed from the specimen by plasma cleaning. The benefits of plasma cleaning are not solely limited to TEM. SEM specimens, as well as SEM specimen holders, aperture strips, tweezers and other electron microscopy accessories can readily be inserted into the plasma chamber for cleaning.
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