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Handbook of precautions, basic functions and features of the

“DualBeam Strata 235 SEM-FIB electron microscope”

Name: Nauman Mithani (Chemistry major)

Professor: Dr. Karen Kavanagh (Nano-imaging, Physics)
Date: April 21st, 2007
Term: 1071 (January - April 2007)
Object: Co-op work term report
Title: Handbook of precautions, basic functions and features of the “DualBeam Strata 235 SEM-FIB electron microscope”


● General ii

● Chapter 1: Precautions and 1

● Chapter 2: Starting 2

● Chapter 3: Imaging
chapter 3.1: Commencement and the first 4
chapter 3.2: Image adjustment and 5
chapter 3.3: Free analysis of the 7

● Chapter 4: 'EDX' mode (determination of elemental composition) 9

● Chapter 5: 'FIB' mode (milling and etching of arrays or patterns)

chapter 5.1: 13
chapter 5.2: Application 1: milling custom 18
chapter 5.3: Application 2: measurement of height, depth or 19

● Chapter 6: End of 20

● 21

General information

Disclaimer: This is to serve as a handbook of reminders and is by no stretch of the imagination the definitive collection of instructions for the
operation of this instrument. The science behind this electron microscope, micro and sub-micro scale imaging is to be sought
elsewhere. Initial training, introduction and familiarisation must be provided by the supervisor.

Universal rules: Always be gentle, in all aspects of operation of the instrument (the further the size of an object from that of an every-day object, the
rarer, more sensitive and expensive it is).

● {?} represents a physical button e.g. {Off} means a physical 'Off' button on a panel somewhere.
● [?] represents a button, feature or drop-down menu in a software e.g. [Vent] means the 'Vent' button/feature/option in the software
that may be accessed by clicking on it using the mouse
● ((?)) represents a physical knob.

● Screenshots of the software, its functions and features may be consulted in the official “Reference Guide”.
● Preferably, the user should save the transfer images of the sample analysis in a personal USB drive or removable device. Once a
particular project or experiment is concluded, all pertinent data should be removed from both computers (a procedure is stated in
box no. 31.2).

Chapter 1: Precautions and conditions

# Precaution/Intention Suggestion/Method Additional notes, comments

Any foreign substance in the main chamber is a

contamination. If a thread falls on the sample, to say the
Laboratory apparel Do not wear clothes with loose threads. least, the user may obtain undesirable images. If a thread
falls between the chamber door and the chamber wall, the
essential vacuum shall not occur due to an incomplete seal.

Use Rubber-bands, hair-bands, fellow user's hands etc.

2 ... and the hair As above.
to keep them from the sample.

The sample must be clean, dry and must not be

The electron beam must reach the sample un-interrupted.
something that may out-gas significantly; it must not be a
3 Sample condition Secondly, a magnetic substance may bend/deflect the
magnetic substance. These conditions are to be met in
electron beam.
the sample preparation.

Please use another, appropriate laboratory other than the The Nano-imaging Facility wishes to avoid any lingering
4 Sample preparation
Nano-imaging Facility. odours or spills.

5 Handling the sample Wear nitrile or latex gloves. Minimising sample contamination.

These are physical, translucent buttons, located on a

Check the {STBY}, {OFF}, panel before the stage motion joystick. Check (but do not
The instrument shall not function properly or at all. So, do not
6 {Vacuum}, {High Tension} and touch) that the {STBY}, {OFF}, {Vacuum}, {High Tension}
{ON} lighted switches buttons are lit, and the dark green {ON} button is not lit. If
not, the supervisor is to be alerted immediately.

Chapter 2: Starting procedures

# Precaution/Intention Suggestion/Method Additional notes, comments

The computer hosting the main FEI xP analysis software is

The primary electron Press {1} on the 'Raritan Compuswitch' box on top of aged in every sense of the word. Hard-drive, memory and
microscope computer. the ultra-sensitive (pico) ammeters. processor speed are limited, so anything and everything that
that can be hosted by another computer is.

8 User log-in [File] menu then [User login] This is to maintain a trace of usage per user.

[Pages] menu in the top-right corner of the screen,

select the [Work] page and set the [X], [Y], [Z], [T] (tilt) This is done to start the analysis from the zero (default)
values to zero; location is near the centre of the page. position. The zero or (for that matter) any position is relative
Reset the sample stage
9 Do press enter in each box when the values are put in to the sample stage. Unfortunately, there is no way to ensure
to register them. If 'Z' is not available, select [Unlink Z a particular position of the sample stage corresponds exactly
from FWD] from the [Stage] menu. to a particular point on the sample every time it is loaded.
Do not set FWD to zero.

Vent the main chamber In order to equalise the pressure, the chamber is flooded with
[Pages] menu in the top-right corner of the screen,
10 (equalise the internal pressure inert, gaseous nitrogen. Recall, air, due to its moisture
select the [Startup] page then click on [Vent].
with that of the outside). content, cannot be used.

To allow the user to place the sample onto the stage in the
Venting shall take up to five minutes approximately.
Pull gently at the chamber door's horizontal bar; if the
11 Opening the chamber door If the chamber door does not budge at the slight pull, there is
door slides open then venting has concluded, otherwise
yet significant pressure difference with the outside.
Do not pull with force.

# Precaution/Intention Suggestion/Method Additional notes, comments

With covered hands, place the sample onto the stage,

12 Mounting the sample then fix its position by inserting the hex-screw provided An uncontaminated sample is securely placed onto the
in the hole below the sample holding stage's surface sample holding stage.
and turning clockwise.

With the help of a particular tool (the height gauge, for

lack of a better name) provided in the same box as the
If the sample is too high, it would clash with the detector(s) or
13 Height check hex-screw, check the height of the sample. If as high or
the tip(s) of the electron/ion column(s).
higher than the limit denoted on the tool, consult the

Gently push the chamber door to close the chamber.

Go to the [Startup] page and initialise the vacuum by
This is the procedure for establishing vacuum.
accessing the [Pump] feature.
14 Re-establishing vacuum The push is for facilitating a difference in air pressures to
A box may appear with further vacuum related options,
“grab” and seal the door.
click [OK]. Physically, keep the chamber door pressed
at the spot where it says, for approx. a minute.

On the [Startup] page, towards the bottom, is an

Maximum working pressure The maximum (air) pressure is simply a working vacuum
15 numerical indicator of the “chamber pressure”, wait until
(air) limitation of the instrument.
it is falls to 3.0×10-5 milli-bar.

Chapter 3: Imaging
chapter 3.1: Commencement and the first images

# Precaution/Intention Suggestion/Method Additional notes, comments

Turns on the electron beam (E-Beam) and engages the

Commencement: applying the Turn on the [HV] feature in the “Electron Column”
16 accelerating voltage to apply the driving force for the
'High Voltage' section on the [Startup] page.

Select, if not selected by default, [SED] from the

17 'Detector' check This is the standard detector mode; its selection is deliberate.
[Detector] menu.

When there may be a need to raise the accelerating voltage

To start with, select [5 kV] from the [E-Beam] menu to (e.g. when conducting analysis of elemental composition),
'E-Beam' HV check
18 apply the driving force for the electrons. Most probably, raising it too high could cause the sample to become charged
(High Voltage)
it shall be selected by default. resulting in distorted/shifting images. The visible effect of a
change is in the contrast of the image.

To select the 'search' mode, [E-Beam] menu →

This is the “general purpose” mode. The other modes serve
19 E-Beam mode: SRH (Search) [Imaging Mode] sub-menu → [Search]. This is the
more specific purposes and thus have more limitations.
default mode.

Access the [Set Continuous Scan] function from the

[Scan] menu, then select the resolution. Start with a Thus, the user obtains the very first image(s) of the day.
lower ‘Resolution’ such as [0.181] . If scanning does The 'resolution' is the image update-time. The image(s),
20 Inaugural image acquisition
not commence, access the [Start Scan] function or understandably, would hardly be of any use since the settings
press {F6} on the keyboard. This and the [Start Scan] of contrast, brightness and focus would not be optimised.
function start/resume the continuous scanning.

Chapter 3.2: Image adjustment and optimisation

# Precaution/Intention Suggestion/Method Additional notes, comments

“E-Beam Link Focus”:- 'Z' and 'FWD' represent the height and distance of the sample
A box may appear on the screen asking to link 'Z' and
stage relative to the beam sources respectively (e.g. the
21 'FWD' which is not be answered for the time being. The
linking 'Z' to 'FWD (Free electron beam gun). Eventually, when the beam has been
box may be put aside but do not answer it.
Working Distance)' focused, [OK] may be pressed.

The button in the toolbar below the menus may be

used to execute the initial auto adjustment of
Once these subjective parameters have been set, a sufficient
brightness and contrast.
22 Brightness and contrast contrast between the background and surface topography
Adjust the ((Brightness)) and ((Contrast)) on the panel
obtained, the user may move on to 'focus'.
before the keyboard in order to fine tune the brightness
and contrast of the image.

The user may zoom out using the central

One wishes to bring to the viewing area, a rugged region of
((Magnification)) dial. One way is to use the cream-
An appropriate spot:- the sample, one with peaks or variations in topography.
coloured joystick to the left of the panel, whilst the
Naturally, it would be awkward to bring anything into focus
23 alternative is to double-click on the spot on the screen
choosing a point for the initial over a flat, unchanging, planar region. The ((X)) and ((Y))
which one wishes to bring to the centre. The electron
focus knobs may be used for fine movements. Remember, these
beam may be shifted using the ((X)) and ((Y)) knobs on
knobs shift the electron beam, not the sample stage.
the same panel that bears the ((Magnification)) dial.

The '1000X' magnification value is a reasonable starting point

Then, set the magnification to at least '1000X', this
for initial focusing. If the user intends to conduct imaging at
may be done by using the ((Magnification)) dial; or
only higher magnifications then initial focusing may be carried
24 Focus typing '1000' in the box containing the magnification
out at a higher magnification. Focus, akin to decimal place
value on the [Work] page. Adjust the focus of the image
accuracy, is more accurate if carried out at a higher
by the ((Coarse)) and ((Fine)) focus knobs.

In a manner of speaking, a calibration has been conducted.

Once the image has been focused, answer the box by As per the official statement, “...sample collision protection...”
Response to the 'EBeam clicking [OK]. If the 'E-Beam Link Focus box' was has been set. Now, 'Z' on the [Work] page has become
Confirm Focus' box [Cancel]led then 'Z' may be linked to 'FWD' by pressing 'FWD'. Remember, a change in the focus shall cause a
the [Z=FWD] button on the [Work] page. change in the FWD (a numerical indication) value and so one
may freely adjust the focus.

((X)) and ((Y)) stigmator knobs may be used to adjust By far, the most challenging parameter in image adjustment.
astigmatism. If before/during focus, the image seems to In the beginning, it is advised to adjust only one knob at a
Stigmator controls
26 shift or blur in a particular direction, and if after time and carefully at that. Astigmatism is many a time the
focusing, the image seems to be blurred in a particular culprit in skewed milled patterns (Ion beam mode). There is
direction, astigmatism shall have to be adjusted. no numerical value associated with the stigmator controls.

Chapter 3.3: Free analysis of the sample

# Precaution/Intention Suggestion/Method Additional notes, comments

The sample stage may be subjected to translational

Translational movement movement by using the cream-coloured joystick to the
27 (viewing other areas and points left of the panel, whilst an alternative is to double-click
on the sample) on the spot on the screen which one wishes to bring to
the centre.

Resumption of scanning removes the image originally present

in the quadrant and scans the area under viewing in the
Screen quadrants One may switch to another quadrant by a mouse-click. former active quadrant, and NOT the area originally
(NOTICE) Switching quadrants 'freezes' scanning. displayed in the quadrant. Thus, save the coordinates often.
A potential advantage of using the quadrants is viewing the
same area under different imaging modes.

'X' and 'Y' coordinates can be seen on the [Work] page,

which update in real-time. Coordinates can be
Coordinates Saves coordinates include 'X', 'Y', 'T' (tilt of the sample stage)
29 “bookmarked” by typing alphanumeric text into the
(NOTICE) and 'R'. The user is advised to save coordinates often.
rectangular text box in the ”Stage” section, above the
'R' (rotation of the stage) menu-box, and press {Enter}.

The image obtained will bear significantly lesser “noise” and

Firstly, focus the image under 'continuous scan'.
thus may seem less sharp. 'Single scan' images are used as
Single scan Access the [Single Scan] feature from the [Scan] menu
30 the final images/pictures of the sample and are saved in the
(NOTICE) then choose the resolution. Start with [11.77] from the
TIFF format.
'High' column.
Scanning shall stop once a single scan has been executed.

[File] menu → [Save] menu → [Image...] to save the

image. The images are to be saved in a folder under The images are saved on the second computer because the
the user's or supervisor's name in the hard-disk on the main FEI computer is of very limited
Saving the images location. Press {2} on the capacity. The second computer also has a finite capacity and
'Raritan Compuswitch' box to switch to computer so the user is requested to transfer the images from this
number 2. The images shall be found in the “UserFiles” computer onto removable media or the internet, if provided.
folder in the “Sharefolder” on the desktop.

It may be accessed through [E-Beam] menu → [Imaging

The purpose is to obtain focused images at higher
Mode] menu → [UHR mode]. Minimum magnification for
'UHR' (ultra-high resolution) magnifications. At such higher magnifications, 'SRH' mode
32 operation of this mode is 1,500 times ('1.5kX'). The
imaging mode can be used, though the image(s) may be less sharp (lower
user may have to re-adjust the settings of contrast and
brightness, focus and astigmatism.

Chapter 4: 'EDX' mode: Determination of elemental composition

# Precaution/Intention Suggestion/Method Additional notes, comments

An accurate quantification shall be obtained if the

Initiate the 'EDX mode' through the [E-Beam] menu →
accelerating voltage is set to 20 kV. The “K” ⍺-lines may not
[Imaging Mode] menu → [EDX mode]. Set the
be excited if the setting is below 20 kV, and thus the
Commence the 'EDX' mode accelerating voltage to [20 kV]. If ‘continuous scanning’
spectrum would be “incomplete”.
33 stops, resume it. The user may very well have to re-
(Energy dispersive X-ray) adjust the settings of contrast and brightness, focus
Due to a significantly lesser sharpness (lower resolution) in
and astigmatism. 'EDX' mode has a minute window of
the 'EDX' mode, analysis should be started out at relatively
focus and thus should be adjusted with care.
low magnifications, if possible.

Simpler method: select [Freeze scanning] from the

[Scan] menu or press {F6}. Other method: execute a
Scanning and choosing a [Single Scan]. Next, select [External Scan] from the The EDX software, installed on computer 2, is a separate
particular area [Scan] menu. A tick mark should appear next to it. Click software that links with the main FEI xP software.
on the [Blank] button in the 'Electron Column' section
on the [Startup] page to turn it off (yellow to grey).

Press {2} on the 'Raritan Compuswitch' box to switch to

The 'EDX' software:-
35 computer number 2. Execute the [EDAX Genesis]
EDAX Genesis
software (by its icon on the desktop).

[Image] tab → the large [Collect image] button towards The selected area of the sample will show up in a corner
36 Image of the sample area
the right of the screen. towards the top-left.

From the toolbar above the image, select the [+

One may analyse the elemental composition of a particular
The scan symbol (its actual colour is black) to select a point
37 point on the sample. The other similar symbols beside it
(1 of 3) cursor. Click on a point on the image to select it for
enable an area selection and respective analysis.

An existing spectrum may be removed by pressing the

From toolbar below the image, click the first button from
The scan second button from the left, . Thus the user obtains the
38 the left, , it is the 'Start/Stop collection' button (bring
(2 of 3) spectrum detailing the elemental composition of the point or
the mouse over it to see the name). ... area selected. Note that this information needs to be further
processed and filtered.

... The button may have to pressed more than once to

The scan The longer the 'collection' scan runs, the greater the
39 commence the 'collection'. If the scan does not
(3 of 3) accuracy.
terminate in a minute, it may be stopped manually.

Click on the last up-down pair of arrowheads (in the

right-hand side of the screen) to bring up several
options/features. The assessment of the elemental composition is not quite

Click the [Peak ID] button (towards the right of the accurate. The major peaks are normally identified correctly
40 The elemental composition.
screen) to have the software assign elements to the but other smaller ones, including background noise peaks,

peaks, though, not immediately. Otherwise, the user may be mislabelled.

may have to click the button multiple times for an

accurate assessment of elements.

Around the [Peak ID] button are two columns

containing a list of elements. The left column consists
of the likely elements, whilst the right column consists
of a wider range (a catalogue) of elements, most Some knowledge of the elemental composition of the sample
Obtaining useful information:
41 unlikely. Selecting any element will show, with a thin is required in order to discern the plausible elements from the
filtering and processing
vertical yellow line, its place on the spectrum, and vice non-existent or unlikely.
versa. An element may removed from the left column
and thus from the spectrum by selecting it and pressing
the [Delete] button.

Pressing the [EPIC] button brings up the periodic table

with orbital energy values assigned to each element.
Clicking on each element will display the values; The user may manually filter the plausible elements present.
42 Manual detection
Clicking on the spectrum will display the constants for Secondly, the 'Eng' value is of consequence.
that point (in the status bar below the spectrum). If the

... values are out of the range of the spectrum then

43 ...
select the [L] option.

Click the [Q] button in the same toolbar as the

Quantification of the 'Start/Stop collection' button to bring up a box The 'At%' (atomic percentage) and 'Wt%' (weight percentage)
composition displaying the percentage elemental composition of values are to be noted.
analysed spot.

[File] menu → [Save as] then select the location and

type(s) of data to save. Another method is to save
screenshots of the display, this may be done by the
45 [Screen capture] function from the [Edit] menu then
Saving pictures of the spectrum
a selecting the sections from the right-hand side and
pressing the [Copy] button. The image may then be
“pasted” in any application that can handle images
such as Microsoft Paint, Word, Powerpoint, etc.

Switch to the main [Spectrum] tab. Execute a The spectrum may be saved in the multi-platform, text-based
45 ‘collection’ scan (the buttons are at the top) and from 'csv' format from the main [Spectrum] tab. The spectrum and
Saving the spectrum data
b the [File] menu, access the [Save as] function, select the image of the sample may be saved as images from the
the format, file name and location and [Save]. [Image] tab.

Chapter 5: 'FIB' mode: Focused ion beam: milling and etching of patterns or arrays
Chapter 5.1: Preparation

# Precaution/Intention Suggestion/Method Additional notes, comments

The main purpose of the gallium ion beam is to mill/etch, not

image; however, it is, possible to do so but with undesirable
46 Imaging mode Switch to the default [SRH] mode. side-effects including sample damage. Milling/etching under
the 'UHR' mode at higher magnifications is not an option
since this is technical constraint.

Set the magnification to at least '1000X' with the 'FWD'

at 5. Since this procedure requires focusing, it is best to
centre the cursor on an appropriate point. Select [Zero
Setting the eucentric height sets the E-Beam and the I-Beam
Beam Shift] from the [Stage] menu. If the cursor shifts,
to focus on the same point.
centre it again on the desired reference point; then, de-
'Eucentric height':-
select [Update FWD after a Z stage move] from the
The little black knob on the joystick pad, if pressed, allows for
[Stage] menu. Set the tilt to 15° by typing “15” (and
47 aligning the E-Beam and I- adjustment of the stage height; if not pressed, translational
press {Enter}) in the 'T' box on the [Work] page. The
Beam. motion would occur.
reference point shall then shift. After re-adjusting the
(Step 1)
brightness, contrast (do not adjust the focus), keep the
Moving the joystick laterally, when the little black button is
black button on the stage motion joystick pressed whilst
pressed, will cause tilting of the sample stage.
using the joystick to bring the reference point under the
cursor. The other way is to adjust the ((Z)) knob on the
chamber door. Do not move the joystick laterally.

‘Eucentric height' Set the tilt to 30°, 45° then 52° to align the reference The joystick is not as sensitive and skips often, therefore, be
(step 2) point with the cursor each time. patient and careful.

An offset of 1 to 2 µm is ideal. If the offset is less than 5 µm,

the user may move on, if the offset is between 5 and 10 µm, it
'Eucentric height'... Set the tilt back to 0° and check the offset of the cursor
49 is permissible that the user may move on but if the offset is
(step 3) relative to the reference point.
greater than 10 µm then the eucentric height needs to be set

Select [Update FWD after a Z stage move] from the

'Eucentric height' Eucentric height has been set and registered. 'FWD' will then
50 [Stage] menu then select [Stage is at Eucentric height]
(step 4) be registered at 5 mm.
from the [Stage] menu.

If the 'Ion Emission Current', displayed in the 'Status' section

Press the [Source] button in the 'Ion Column' section of
near the bottom of the [Startup] page, is below 2.1 µA or
the [Startup] page, wait for the 'Ion Emission Current' to
Starting up the 'Focused Ion beyond 2.3 µA, the supervisor is to be notified.
51 fall between 2.1 µA and 2.3 µA inclusive, 2.2 µA being
Beam' The [Beams On] button activates both, the E-Beam and the I-
the desired value, then press the [HV] button in the
'High Voltage' section below the 'Ion Column' section.
The I-Beam imaging mode is to be engaged later.

The I-Beam column is positioned at an angle of 38°; the E-

Beam column at an angle of 90°. In order to view the sample
52 Tilting the sample Tilt the sample stage to 52°.
from straight up, the stage has to be tilted to 52°,
perpendicular to the I-Beam column.

The image should have to be focused. The only method

Shift to an area which the user can afford to have described thus far has been by way of 'continuous scanning'.
altered; this area may be the edge of the sample or Gallium ions which comprise the ion beam, however, carry
53 Ion beam mode away from it. The I-Beam may be engaged through the significantly more momentum, and thus continuous scanning
[DB Control] menu by accessing the [Primary Beam - I] in the I-Beam mode causes milling/erosion of the sample in
function. the viewing area. The higher the focus or the larger the 'Ion
Column Aperture', the greater the rate of milling/erosion.

This is the default setting. It controls the strength of the beam.

The higher the aperture setting, the more ions pass through,
thus, the wider (since the ions are more spread out) the
Start with an aperture setting of [10 pA 30kV] from the milling.
54 'Ion Column Aperture'
[I-Beam] menu.
Focusing under one aperture setting and milling under
another is discouraged as contrast-brightness and focus do
not remain constant.

As previously stated, the higher the magnification when

Set the magnification to a higher magnitude (one or two
focusing, the more thorough and more accurate the focus.
clockwise shifts of the ((Magnification)) dial or more if
so desired) than the one the user intends to mill at.
55 Focusing Adjust the stigmator controls regardless, if not to adjust then
Engage the continuous scanning and focus the image.
to at least confirm the lack of astigmatism. Lack of focus and
especially presence of astigmatism, will cause the milled
Carefully, adjust the stigmator controls.
patterns to be skewed.

Switch to 'E-Beam' mode from the [DB Control] menu →

[Primary Beam - E], browse over the sample to choose The switch to 'E-Beam' mode is made so as to harmlessly
the desired spot for milling; then execute a single 'I- browse over the sample without suffering passive Ga ion
56 Choice of area Beam' scan by the [Grab 1I] function from the [Scan] milling (of the whole area in view).
menu. This shall execute a quick, single scan of the The quick 'I-Beam' scan is carried out to obtain the final
area in 'I-Beam' mode whilst in the 'E-Beam' mode then image of the area before the milling.
freeze the scanning. Return to the 'I-Beam' mode.

This particular menu contains a few more features and

Simple shapes to be milled may be selected from the
settings that are self-explanatory. If any errors along the lines
Milling:- [Patterning] menu → [Create] sub-menu, and then
57 of “…excessive number of points…” appear, refer to row 61.
simple shapes drawn on the screen. When ready to mill, execute the
If the errors persist, draw a smaller pattern or switch to higher
[Start Patterning] function from the same menu.

Stream files (describing a repeating pattern) may be

generated by multiple means e.g. stream files may be
created indirectly through MATLAB ®.
Refer to the webpage:, more These are text-based files which are used to create patterns
specifically, the “Stream Files” section, for another with the FIB e.g. an array of circles or a custom drawing. The
'Stream files'
58 means to generate a stream file and for further vital file is comprised of information of coordinates, magnitude of
information. Another resource on stream files is magnification, dwell-time, loop-count and number of points
“Generation of stream files” by Samantha Grist of SFU (max. 1 million).
ENSC, accessible through Dr. Karen Kavanagh of SFU
Generating stream files (extension: str) from custom
images is described in chapter 5.2.

Milling:- The stream files must be present in drive (any The stream files shall have to be shifted from the
59 'stream files': location in this drive) of computer 1 for the FEI xP . The user is asked to keep the files organised and not
(NOTICE: location) software to load them. leave them in the root directory.

[File] menu → [Open] menu → [Pattern Data] to load the

stream file. Select the material file corresponding to the If the exact material file cannot be found, consult the
base material of the sample; this may be from the supervisor for the closest match.
60 Milling the stream file [Material File] drop-down menu (towards the top-right)
on the [Work] page. From the [Patterning] menu, If any errors along the lines of the pattern/points not fitting in
execute the [Start Patterning] function to commence the screen appear, refer to row 61.
the milling.

Run the 'RunScript' program on computer 1 by the

[RunScript] icon on the desktop. Do not select the loop
count option to retain the loop count value specified in Other options produce no noticeable effect.
Milling:- the stream file. When milling commences, a dialogue box shall appear in the
61 'stream files' and the Access the [File] menu → [Script 1] to select the script FEI xP software.
”RunScript” software file for the program, its name and location is Once the milling is completed, a few script-related error
. Upon loading notices may pop up, which may be dismissed.
the script file, the milling may be commenced by [Run]
menu → [Start].

The user may switch to 'E-Beam' mode, in the same or

62 Viewing the result Recall, this would be an angled view.
another quadrant, to view the milled pattern.

Chapter 5.2: Application 1: milling custom patterns

# Precaution/Intention Suggestion/Method Additional notes, comments

The pattern must exist as an image in the bitmap format

containing a monochrome (black and white)
This software translates the custom pattern/image into pattern/drawing/image (extension: bmp). When preparing the
63 The software: “Patterns”
a stream file; it may be accessed from the start menu. image, it is better to remove, if possible, any blank parts of
the image. The software does not recognise any other image

Select the [MS Windows .BMP] option at the top. Set

the magnification in the [Magnification] box; set the
If unsure of the pattern milling time, set it to 2 minutes.
milling time in the [Pattern Time, mins] box; select the
[Save Data] option.
The extension is also to be typed along with the desired
64 The procedure Press the [Calculate] button at the bottom to select and
name of the stream file.
load the bitmap file. Press the button again to bring up
This software can pick up a file from the 'SharedFolder' but
the box for the saving of the translated stream file. If a
remember to save the translated stream file in drive of
box pertaining to bitmap file(s) comes up, select the
computer 1.
[Cancel] option to bring up the desired stream file box.

From the [File] menu, access the [Load .str] function to

65 Visualising a stream file
choose and visualise a stream file.

Chapter 5.3: Application 2: measurement of height, depth or thickness

# Precaution/Intention Suggestion/Method Additional notes, comments

The pattern to be drawn is a trench with a sloping base,

deepest at the upper face. It is outlined by the main edges of
the box.

Reduce the size of the box if the software gives an error

Access [Patterning] menu → [Create] menu → [Regular related to an excess number of points; the depth of the milling
Cross Section], then draw out the box such that the top, is of importance here, not the area.
horizontal edge would slice the protrusion in half. If one
66 intends to simply gauge the thickness of the covering It is assumed that the user has accounted for the
by slicing
layer then the box may be drawn over a flat section of preliminaries of angle of tilt, choice of area, focusing, ion
the viewing area. In this case, it's no more than digging column aperture (row 46-57, 61), etc.
by ion milling to see how deep it goes.
Once the milling is complete, switch to another quadrant (and
'E-Beam' mode) for viewing so as to preserve the box; in
case the depth of the trench is insufficient to view the layer-
base interface (on the upper, vertical face of the trench), with
the user intending to mill again.

If the trench does not appear clean enough, especially

the upper face, the 'cleaning cross section' feature may
67 Cleaning the cross section
be used. [Patterning] menu → [Create] sub-menu →
[Cleaning Cross Section].

Chapter 6: End of session

# Precaution/Intention Suggestion/Method Additional notes, comments

Stop the scanning by the {F6} key or [Freeze Scanning]

from the [Scan] menu, then set the accelerating voltage
68 Cessation of scanning of the E-Beam to [5 kV], the [Spotsize] to 3 (if adjusted
during the session); set the 'Ion Column Aperture' to

Turn both beams off by accessing the [Beams Off]

69 Turning the beams off button in the 'System' section, towards the top-right on
the [Startup] page.

70 Vent Refer to box 2 of row 9

Whilst the chamber is open set the [X], [Y], [Z], [T] (tilt),
71 Sample stage to zero position
[R] (rotation) values to zero.

Insert the hex-screw below the sample stage surface

72 Unload the sample and gently turn anti-clockwise (two or three turns ought
to be enough).

Re-establishing vacuum: Close the chamber. Access the [Pump] function on the
pumping [Startup] page.

74 Log-out [File] menu → [User Logout] function.



• FEI Company, xP DualBeam Workstation User's Guide, 1999.

• (Dr. Karen) Kavanagh group,, SFU Physics dept.

• Grist, Samantha, “Generation of stream files”, SFU ENSC dept., 2007.

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