Cryogenic Focused Ion Beam and Scanning Electron Microscopy (Cryo-FIB/SEM)

Cryogenic focused ion beam and scanning electron microscopy (cryo-FIB/SEM) is a technique used to minimize ion and electron beam damage. Soft materials such as polymers and biological specimens, battery materials, and many other materials systems may deform, melt, or amorphize under room-temperature FIB milling and SEM imaging conditions. Through cryo-FIB/SEM, the sample is cooled to cryogenic (-130°C) temperatures to minimize these artifacts. The cooling is done by running liquid nitrogen through the CryoMat cold stage installed in our ThermoFisher FEI Helios G3 system. This enables accurate FIB cross-sectioning and SEM measurements of beam sensitive materials with minimal deformation. This also allows for cryogenic FIB lamella preparation for cryo-TEM analysis.

Key Applications

  • Polymers

  • Li battery materials

  • Photoresist

  • Biological specimens

  • Beam/heat sensitive metals


Ideal Uses of Cryo-FIB

  • FIB cross-sectioning and SEM imaging of beam sensitive materials

  • FIB TEM sample preparation of beam sensitive materials

  • FIB cross-sectioning and SEM imaging of frozen specimens


  • Minimize FIB artifacts (deformation, melting, bubbling, intermetallic formation)

  • Enable the usage of higher ion and electron beam voltages and currents compared to room temperature FIB

  • Minimal deformation during SEM imaging and measurements of soft materials


  • Maximum sample size is 20 x 20 mm wide, 7 mm tall

  • Cooling the stage/sample and stabilizing at cryo-temperatures is time-intensive

  • Maximum CryoMat stage rotation is +/- 20°

  • Electron-beam and ion-beam assisted gas deposition is not possible at cryogenic-temperatures

Cryo-FIB Technical Specifications

  • Signals Detected: Secondary and backscattered electrons, secondary ions
  • Elements Detected: N/A
  • Detection Limits: N/A
  • Depth Resolution: N/A
  • Imaging/Mapping: Yes
  • Lateral Resolution/Probe Size: 4 nm ion beam resolution, 0.7nm electron beam resolution

Would you like to learn more about Cryo-FIB?

Contact us today for your Cryo-FIB needs. Please complete the form below to have an EAG expert contact you.

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