The semiconductor industry recently has been investigating new specimen preparation methods that can improve throughput while maintaining quality. The result has been a combination of focused ion beam (FIB) preparation and ex situ lift-out (EXLO) techniques. Unfortunately, the carbon support on the EXLO grid presents problems if the lamella needs to be thinned once it is on the grid. In this paper, we show how low-energy (< 1 keV), narrow-beam (< 1 μm diameter) Ar ion milling can be used to thin specimens and remove gallium from EXLO FIB specimens mounted on various support grids.

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