This article is intended to provide the reader with a good understanding of the underlying science, technology, and the most common applications of focused ion beam (FIB) instruments. It begins with a survey of the various types of FIB instruments and their configurations, discusses the essential components, and explains their function only to the extent that it helps the operator obtain the desired results. An explanation of how the components of ion optical column shape and steer the ion beam to the desired target locations is then provided. The article also reviews the many diverse accessories and options that enable the instrument to realize its full potential across all of the varied applications. This is followed by a detailed analysis of the physical processes associated with the ion beam interacting with the sample. Finally, a complete survey of the most prominent FIB applications is presented.