Highest resolution chemical imaging based on secondary ion mass spectrometry performed on the helium ion microscope

JN Audinot and P Philipp and O De Castro and A Biesemeier and QH Hoang and T Wirtz, REPORTS ON PROGRESS IN PHYSICS, 84, 105901 (2021).

DOI: 10.1088/1361-6633/ac1e32

This paper is a review on the combination between Helium Ion Microscopy (HIM) and Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS), which is a recently developed technique that is of particular relevance in the context of the quest for high-resolution high-sensitivity nano-analytical solutions. We start by giving an overview on the HIM-SIMS concept and the underlying fundamental principles of both HIM and SIMS. We then present and discuss instrumental aspects of the HIM and SIMS techniques, highlighting the advantage of the integrated HIM-SIMS instrument. We give an overview on the performance characteristics of the HIM-SIMS technique, which is capable of producing elemental SIMS maps with lateral resolution below 20 nm, approaching the physical resolution limits, while maintaining a sub-nanometric resolution in the secondary electron microscopy mode. In addition, we showcase different strategies and methods allowing to take profit of both capabilities of the HIM-SIMS instrument (high-resolution imaging using secondary electrons and mass filtered secondary sons) in a correlative approach. Since its development HIM-SIMS has been successfully applied to a large variety of scientific and technological topics. Here, we will present and summarise recent applications of nanoscale imaging in materials research, life sciences and geology.

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