SAN JOSE, Calif. Ascend Instruments Inc. on Wednesday (Sept. 29) claimed to have devised a new technique that eliminates most of the steps in transmission electron microscopy (TAM), based on focused ion beam (FIB) technology.
Ascend (Beaverton, Ore.) rolled out Extreme Magic, a new technique for enhanced TEM. The new approach works with Ascend's Extreme Access nano-manipulator tool.
Extreme Magic makes use of the so-called "End Effector", which extracts thick, site-specific sample "biopsies." After extraction, the tool's Xtreme Access nano-manipulator can be used to position the biopsy for final FIB thinning or TEM evaluations away from the bulk sample.
The solution is said provide a faster and more reliable process for preparing site-specific, sub-100-nm samples required for atomic-resolution TEM analysis, according to the company. It is also said to eliminate the need for expensive gas deposition steps on the host FIB. And it reduces the time, cost, and difficulty of TEM sample preparation, according to the company.
"The continuing reduction in nanoelectronic device size, the introduction of new processes and materials in manufacturing, and the explosion in new nano-engineered materials have together created a growing demand for atomic-resolution TEM imaging," said Joe Robinson, Ascend's founder and CEO.
"The high cost-per-analysis is largely determined by the slow, difficult sample preparation process," he said. "Extreme Access pays for itself very quickly by increasing the throughput on these very expensive instruments. As a bonus, we have eliminated the need for platinum deposition and the tricky and unreliable transfer steps inherent in other methods."