Abstract

Focused Ion Beam sample preparation for electron microscopy often requires large volumes of material to be removed. Prior efforts to increase the rate of bulk material removal were mainly focused on increasing the primary ion beam current. Enhanced sputtering yield at glancing ion beam incidence is known, but has not found widespread use in practical applications. In this study, etching at glancing ion beam incidence was explored for its advantages in increasing the rate of bulk material removal. Anomalous enhancement of material removal was observed with single raster etching in along-the-slope direction with toward-FIB raster propagation at glancing ion beam incidence. Material removal was inhibited with raster propagation away from FIB. The effects of glancing angle and ion dose on depth of cut and volume of removed material were also recorded. We demonstrated that the combination of single-raster etching in along-the-slope direction by raster propagating toward-FIB at glancing incidence and a “staircase” type of etching strategy holds promise for reducing the process time for bulk material removal in FIB sample preparation applications.

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