Tip apex shaping of gas field ion sources

Ultramicroscopy. 2013 Aug;131:56-60. doi: 10.1016/j.ultramic.2013.03.013. Epub 2013 Apr 11.


A procedure to control W(111) tip shape during etching to a single atom is described. It is demonstrated that the base of a single atom tip (SAT) can be shaped in order to alter the final operating voltage and emission opening angle of single atom tips for use as gas field ion sources or electron cold field emission sources. The operating voltages for single atom tips varied between 5 and 17kV during helium ion beam generation. The emission properties of SATs were evaluated by fitting SAT images and measuring the full width at half maximum (FWHM) of the helium ion images. The FWHM is related to the linear opening angle and was evaluated as a function of SAT operating voltage. The results show that a forward focussing effect is observed such that the spot size decreases faster than is expected solely from an acceleration effect, indicating an affect from the tip shape. These results have consequences in designing gas field ion sources where etching is used to prepare the emitter.

Keywords: Field ion microscopy; Gas field ion source; Helium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't