Focused ion beam (FIB) technique uses a focused beam of ions to scan the surface of aspecimen, analogous to the way scanning electron microscope (SEM) utilizes electrons.Recent developments in the FIB technology have led to beam spot size below 10 nm,which makes FIB suitable for nanofabrication. This project investigated thenanofabrication aspect of the FIB technique, with device applications perspective inseveral directions. Project work included construction of an in-situ FIB electricalmeasurement system and development of its applications, direct measurements ofnanometer scale FIB cuts and fabrication and testing of lateral field emission devices.Research work was performed using a number of materials including Al, Cr, SiO2, Si3N4and their heterostructures. Measurements performed included in-situ resistometricmeasurements, which provided milled depth information by monitoring the resistancechange of a metal track while ion milling it. The reproducibly of this method wasconfirmed by repeating experiments and accuracy was proven by atomic force microscopy(AFM). The system accurately monitored the thickness of 50 nm wide and 400 nm thick(high aspect ratio) Nb tracks while ion milling them. Direct measurements of low aspectratio nanometer scale FIB cuts were performed using AFM on single crystal Si,polycrystalline Nb and an amorphous material. These experiments demonstrated theimportance of materials aspects for example the presence of grains for cuts at this scale. Anew lateral field emission device (in the plane of the chip) was fabricated, as FIB offersseveral advantages for these devices such as control over sharpness and decrease in anodeto-cathode spacing. FIB fabrication achieved field emission tip sharpness below 50 nm andanode-to-cathode spacing below 100 nm. For determining the field emission characteristicsof the devices, a low current (picoampere) measurement system was constructed anddevices operated in ultra high vacuum (10-9 mbar) in picoampere range. One devicefabricated using a FIB sharpening process had a turn on voltage of 57 V.
Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge 2000
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