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Control of surface charge for high‐fidelity nanostructuring of materials

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The universal problem of surface charging during focused ion milling has been fully resolved using a flood‐gun approach based on simultaneous co‐illumination with a UV light‐emitting diode (LED). Non‐distorted as‐designed nano‐patterns were milled using Ga+ ions on dielectric materials which charge up strongly. Deep‐UV (250–280 nm) LED co‐illumination during the ion beam milling fully discharges optically the surface under standard Ga+ ion‐milling conditions. Photo‐ionization of electrons trapped at the sub‐surface defects to the free vacuum state is a key to the phenomenon (λ=250 nm corresponds to a photon energy hν=4.96 eV). The method is applicable as a solution to other charging problems where electrons (primary or secondary) and their spatial redistribution affect nanofabrication or imaging. The universal problem of surface charging during focused ion milling has been fully resolved using a flood‐gun approach based on simultaneous co‐illumination with a UV light‐emitting diode (LED). Non‐distorted as‐designed nano‐patterns were milled using Ga+ ions on dielectric materials which charge up strongly. Deep‐UV (250–280 nm) LED co‐illumination during the ion beam milling fully discharges optically the surface under standard Ga+ ion‐milling conditions. Photo‐ionization of electrons trapped at the sub‐surface defects to the free vacuum state is a key to the phenomenon (λ=250 nm corresponds to a photon energy hν=4.96 eV). The method is applicable as a solution to other charging problems where electrons (primary or secondary) and their spatial redistribution affect nanofabrication or imaging.
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Keywords: UV LED; ion milling; lithography; photo‐effect

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2013

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