Nanofabrication service

Helium ion microscope

The Helium Ion Microscope (HIM) generates a beam of helium ions focused to a sub-nanometer sized spot on a sample. This can be raster scanned across a sample to form an image of the surface in a similar way to scanning electron microscopy, but achieving a higher resolution and larger depth of field.

Insulating samples can be imaged without a conductive coating by using the integrated electron flood gun to neutralise charge build up. The focused beam of helium ions can also be used to modify samples in a controlled way by directly sputtering material, a technique similar to the Ga FIB, or by exposing of beam sensitive resists in an analogous process to electron beam lithography. The ultra-small probe size enables the HIM to modify materials to a higher degree of precision than traditional techniques.

  • High resolution imaging
  • Lithography and deposition
  • Direct milling of material to fabricate nanoscale structures in various materials

Some examples of the use of the HIM at Southampton include: