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Microscopy (Oxf). 2014 Nov;63 Suppl 1:i5. doi: 10.1093/jmicro/dfu077.

Recent improvement of a FIB-SEM serial-sectioning method for precise 3D image reconstruction - application of the orthogonally-arranged FIB-SEM.

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Advanced Key Technology Division, National Institute for Materials Science, 1-1 Namiki, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 3050044, Japan.


IntroductionWe installed the first "orthogonally-arranged" FIB-SEM in 2011. The most characteristic point of this instrument is that the FIB and SEM columns are perpendicularly mounted; this is specially designed to obtain a serial-sectioning dataset more accurately and precisely with higher contrast and higher spatial resolution compare to other current FIB-SEMs [1]. Since the installation in 2011, we have developed the hardware and methodology of the serial-sectioning based on this orthogonal FIB-SEM. In order to develop this technique, we have widely opened this instrument to every researcher of all fields. In the presentation, I would like to introduce some of application results that are obtained by users of this instrument. The characteristic points of the orthogonal systemFigure 1 shows a difference between the standard and the orthogonal FIB-SEM systems: In the standard system, shown in Fig.1(a), optical axes of a FIB and a SEM crosses around 60deg., while in the orthogonal system (Fig.1(b)), they are perpendicular to each other. The standard arrangement (a) is certainly suitable for TEM lamellae preparation etc. because the FIB and the SEM can see the same position simultaneously. However, for a serial-sectioning, it is not to say the best arrangement. One of the reasons is that the sliced plane by the FIB is not perpendicular to the electron beam so that the background contrast is not uniform and observed plane is distorted. On the other hand, in case of the orthogonally-arranged system,(b), these problems are resolved. In addition, spatial resolution can keep high enough even in a low accelerating voltage (e.g. 500V) because a working distance is set very small, 2mm. From these special design, we can obtain the serial-sectioning dataset from rather wide area (∼100um) with high spatial resolution (Max. 2×2×2nm). As this system has many kinds of detectors: SE, ET, Backscatter Electron(Energy-selective), EDS, EBSD, STEM(BF&ADF), with Ar+ ion-gun and a plasma cleaner, many kinds of signals can be obtained simultaneously.jmicro;63/suppl_1/i5-a/DFU077F1F1DFU077F1Fig. 1.Schematic illustration described (a) a standard type arrangement, (b) an orthogonal type arrangement. Recent topics and Future prospectsWe have applied this instrument for wide area of microstructure analysis; Metals and Alloys, Semiconductor devices, Battery electrodes, Minerals, Biomaterials, and so on. In my presentation, I would like to introduce some of our application results and will discuss about future development of the methodology of a FIB-SEM serial sectioning. As the applied research field becomes wider, various requests for the method were arisen. However, most requests can be summarized as follows: observation of larger area, expansion of applicable sample, obtain many kind of information, linkage with other instruments. AcknowledgmentsThe instrument introduced in this work was installed at NIMS by a part of "Low-carbon research network Japan" funded by the MEXT,Japan.


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