Over the past fifty year, lasers have found many, often groundbreaking applications in science and technology. The most important features of lasers are that photons are inherently free of contamination, extremely high energy densities can be focused in very small areas and the laser beam can be precisely positioned using deflection mirrors. By reducing pulse lengths from a few nanoseconds down to the picosecond or femtosecond range, material ablation is becoming increasingly “athermal”, i.e. structure damage by local heating is reduced to well below a few microns. In view of these outstanding characteristics of lasers, it is very surprising that sample preparation for microstructure diagnostics did not derive the advantages from laser micromachining. microPREPTM, is a new laser-micromachining tool developed by 3D-Micromac capable of making fast, clean, and efficient laser ablation available for the preparation of samples for transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The workflow follows a three-stage approach. First, a supporting basic structure is cut from the feedstock. Second, the supported structure is laser-thinned down to a few microns and third, the supported and laser-thinned structure is thinned using a focused ion beam or an ion broad beam. The examples presented in this paper support this approach and show it is ready to be applied in different areas of microstructure diagnostics and has very high potential for failure diagnostics.

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