Thermo Scientific Helios Hydra DualBeam FIB SEM instrument

Tuesday, 16 July, 2019 | Supplied by: Thermo Fisher Scientific

Researchers can now apply a range of ion beam species within one focused ion beam (FIB) scanning electron microscopy (SEM) instrument with the Thermo Scientific Helios Hydra DualBeam system.

The system was designed to deliver four different ions as the primary beam — including argon, nitrogen, oxygen and xenon — and quickly and easily switch between them in less than 10 min without sacrificing performance. This allows researchers and engineers to choose the ion species that provide the best results for their samples or do fundamental research on the interactions of different ions with matter.

Integrating the ability for scientists to easily choose between four different ion species within one instrument will expand and optimise the application space for investigating material properties across length scales. With its oxygen ion beam, suitable for the milling of carbon-based materials such as graphite used in battery anodes, it could help researchers develop safer, lighter and more efficient energy storage devices.

Previously, the application of different beams required researchers to transfer the sample between instruments or conduct lengthy and complicated source exchanges. For example, standalone specialised broad-beam argon polishers are currently a typical component of high-quality transmission electron microscopy (TEM) sample preparation workflows. With the Helios Hydra DualBeam, the focused argon beam can be applied to the sample directly after initial milling, reducing transfer and processing time for the sample.

With switching times of 10 min or less, researchers can also apply all four beams to their sample within one session to determine which ion is best suited to their intended purpose. This flexibility expands the potential use cases of FIB in the exploration of ion-sample interactions.

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