A Focused Ion Beam (FIB) instrument uses a finely focused ion beam to modify and image the sample of interest. FIB is chiefly used to create very precise cross sections of a sample for subsequent imaging via SEM, STEM or TEM or to perform circuit modification. Additionally, FIB imaging can be used to image a sample directly, detecting emitted electrons either from the ion or electron beam. The contrast mechanism for FIB is different than for SEM or S/TEM, so unique structural information can be obtained in some cases. A dual beam FIB/SEM integrates these two techniques into one tool whereas a single beam FIB contains only an ion beam, with electron beam imaging taking place in a separate SEM, STEM or TEM instrument.
As a sample preparation tool, the FIB can accurately produce cross-sections of a sample that are impossible to create otherwise:
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