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Zeiss Orion NanoFab Helium and Neon Ion Microscope

The Orion NanoFab Helium Ion Microscope (HIM) operates using ionized Helium or Neon gases rather than electrons for imaging and milling of materials. Helium is typically used for imaging and milling very thin films (e.g. graphene), with a spot size ~0.5 nm.  Neon is is heavier, and thus better adapted for milling bulk materials and thin films with a spot size of ~2 nm.

(UPDATE - SIMS module currently unavailable)

As Neon ions strike the surface, about 1 in 1000 surface atoms are ejected with a charge. A custon built mass analyzer has been adapted to the CNMS HIM for Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer (SIMS) applications, resulting in a unique tool unavailable at any other User Facility. The CNMS HIM-SIMS has an unprecedented 13 nm chemical resolution, due to a small Neon spot size. The HIM-SIMS has a mass resolution of ~500, making it suitable for elemental detection with high spatio-chemical resolution.


  • Gas Field Ion Source (GFIS) and column including helium and optional neon source gas operation
  • Advanced Nanopatterning
  • ET secondary electron detector
  • Electron flood gun for charge compensation
  • 5 axis motorized piezo drive eucentric stage
  • GFIS Column Field of view: 800 µm – 100 nm @ 8 mm working distance
  • Plasma cleaner

Helium Ion Beam Resolution: 0.5 nm @30kV

  • Beam energy: 10 – 30 kV
  • Beam current: 0.1 to 100 pA*

Neon Ion Beam Resolution: 1.9 nm @ 25kV

  • Beam energy: 10 – 25 kV
  • Beam current: 0.1 to 50 pA

Recent Publications

Belianinov, A., Ievlev, A.V., Lorenz, M., Borodinov, N., Doughty, B., Kalinin, S.V., Fernandez, F.M. and Ovchinnikova, O.S., 2018. Correlated Materials Characterization via Multimodal Chemical and Functional Imaging. ACS nano, 12(12), pp.11798-11818.

Zhao, Y., Liu, D., Chen, J., Zhu, L., Belianinov, A., Ovchinnikova, O.S., Unocic, R.R., Burch, M.J., Kim, S., Hao, H. and Pickard, D.S., 2017. Engineering the thermal conductivity along an individual silicon nanowire by selective helium ion irradiation. Nature communications, 8, p.15919.

Belianinov, A., Burch, M.J., Kim, S., Tan, S., Hlawacek, G. and Ovchinnikova, O.S., 2017. Noble gas ion beams in materials science for future applications and devices. MRS Bulletin, 42(9), pp.660-666.

See Also

Wirtz, T., Dowsett, D. and Philipp, P., 2016. SIMS on the Helium Ion Microscope: A Powerful Tool for High-Resolution High-Sensitivity Nano-Analytics. In Helium Ion Microscopy (pp. 297-323). Springer, Cham.

Hlawacek, G. and Gölzhäuser, A. eds., 2016. Helium Ion Microscopy (p. 526). Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.


HIM Contact