Revolutionary Beam Control and Extreme Field Of View
NPVE Features and Applications
Vector Scanned Shapes
Live View Patterning
Revolutionary Beam Control and Extreme Field Of
The NanoPatterning and Visualization Engine (NPVE) expands the
capabilities of your dual-column system to new heights. As an add-on to
your Carl Zeiss system, the NPVE enables rapid
prototyping of features from nanometers to millimeters, extensive
control over patterning parameters and extreme field of view imaging up
to 1 GigaPixel per image, all in an integrated, intuitive user
The NPVE brings together dual 16 bit scan generator technology and
supersampling signal acquisition hardware with a floating point, vector
scan engine. Operated through an intuitive user interface, the NPVE
smoothly integrates simultaneous control of both the FIB-SEM
(CrossBeam®) and SEM, real-time imaging during patterning and automated
control of the microscope through SmartSEM. Simple to learn yet
extremely powerful, the NPVE system is the solution of choice for a
wide range of NanoPatterning and Imaging applications. Its ease of use
allows even novice users to begin solving complex problems in
nanoprototyping, with or without gas chemistry, quickly and easily.
The NPVE combines extensive, flexible NanoPatterning capability with
increasingly vital Visualization of signals generated by the patterning
beam, bringing together a wealth of information which complements the
existing imaging capabilities of the CrossBeam® instruments.
In addition to the NanoPatterning features of the NPVE, the user may
acquire images up to one billion pixels in size (32k x 32k), enabling
high resolution, extremely large field of view imaging. Additional
options allow automated acquisition and stitching of large area Mosaics
creating a montage of many contiguous high resolution images.
A 1 µm X 1 µm square of Electron Beam deposited
silicon oxide pillars. The patterning angle within the square shape was
set to 45°, with spacing chosen to have the pillars just contacting.
A: 600 nm diameter FIB-deposited 3D coil. B:
Reservoir and a nano-channel 20 µm long and 200 nm in width. Real-time
visualization while milling allows a smooth, flat-bottomed transition
from channel to reservoir.
A FIB grayscale rendering of the Lincoln Memorial,
patterned into silicon. An unmodified photograph was used as the data
source. The total patterning time was approximately ten minutes.
NPVE Features and Applications
Creating arrays of repetitive structures is straightforward using
the NPVE Array Builder. Different array styles can be constructed
including regular and radial arrays. The Array Builder has proven to be
indispensable for gas process optimization as a wide range of
parameters can be systematically varied on a shape-by-shape basis for
rapid design of experiments.
A 4 by 4 array of rectangles used for electron beam
assisted deposition. The dwell point spacing was varied by row and by
A portion of an array of annular shapes, each 450 nm
in diameter, with a 1 µm spacing (pitch) between shapes.
Isometric view of grating of 25 nm lines spaced by
100 nm, directly patterned using a 10 pA ion beam.
Determining optimal patterning parameters to achieve the very best
results may require significant effort on the part of a novice user.
To facilitate this process, the NPVE ships with a number of
Operation Recipes which encapsulates the optimal patterning parameters
across a range of beam currents, for many common tasks such as
precision milling or gas-based chemistries.
Nano-scale channel structures
Half-torus milled into diamond
Users simply choose an appropriate recipe, which automatically
applies these parameters to any shape with “one click”. Users may also
modify or generate their own recipes using the Operation Recipe Editor.
In addition to the features shown, the NPVE has numerous additional
capabilities. Please contact your sales representative to discuss your
particular application, and how the NPVE can assist in making your
application a success.
The NPVE has nine basic shapes which can be used or combined to
create more complex shapes. Each shape is composed of fully-editable
nodes and segments in a manner familiar to anyone who has used graphics
The NPVE also comes with a file importer which can read and convert
2D drawings in several industry standard formats.
Basic Shape List:
Choosing the optimal patterning parameters greatly affects the
outcome of an experiment. For this reason the NPVE interface offers a
high degree of flexibility in optimizing how the beam is moved across
the sample. Virtually all parameters relating to beam positioning can
be set - or the user can choose a previously defined Operation Recipe
which will then automatically set the Patterning Parameters for the
Using “Void” shapes, the NPVE offers a convenient method to prevent
critical sample regions from being patterned by the beam. Any filled
shape may be turned into a Void. In turn, any shape which contacts a
Void will then have the region which contains all or a portion of the
Void excluded from patterning.
Patterning multiple shapes in parallel, rather than serially
completing one shape and moving onto the next has distinct advantages,
particularly when using gas chemistries or milling high aspect ratio
structures. The NPVE supports parallel or serial patterning of all
shapes or selected subsets of shapes.
Vector Scanned Shapes
Traditionally, shapes are filled with a raster-like scan algorithm.
The NPVE supports this traditional style (indeed allowing an arbitrary
scan direction to be specified), but it also supports vector scanning
of the shape outline. Outline scanning can be used to completely fill a
shape, or to trace the perimeter of the shape in a manner that smoothly
follows the shape's outline. Outline scans can be set for Center, Inset
or Outset Alignment, either with a specified thickness, or to the point
of filling the shape. As elsewhere, the NPVE allows complete control of
patterning parameters such as the dwell point spacing along each "path"
and between "paths", how corners are mitered, etc.
Dwell point simulation at 50% overlap, of an outline
shape with ten-fold symmetry
Creating complex shapes is made easier by using the NPVE Set
Operations. Individual shapes may be combined with Set Operations to
create the Union, Difference, Intersection, XOR or Clipped version of
the shapes. Each derived shape remains fully editable, with new nodes
being determined by the particular Set Operation employed. Using Set
Operations, overlapping shapes and the resulting erroneous double
dosing error can be eliminated.
The particular scan strategy employed has a significant impact on
the results achieved. NPVE Patterning Styles allow the user to specify
a range of scan strategies.
Spot size, redeposition of material, gas deposition or etch rates,
etc. all contribute to making the final shape slightly larger or
smaller than the as-drawn shape. Each shape has an Offset parameter
which, once calibrated for a particular Operation, allows the NPVE to
automatically contract or expand the shape by the amount required to
meet the exact dimensional tolerances.
Live View Patterning
Visualization of the patterning process from the perspective of the
patterning beam, not merely viewing with the SEM while milling with the
FIB, has proven to be critical to the success in many applications of
Live View Patterning of the cutting of a nano-wire at
the bottom of a deep hole.
The NPVE displays real-time "zoom view" images of shapes as they are
patterned, allowing precise alignment, drift correction and observation
of the patterning process.
For convenient tracking of data, all experiments can be readily
marked in-situ using the FIB Text option. All MS Windows™ fonts are
available and the text can be patterned in the same manner as any other
shape, including applying Operation Recipes to enable gas chemistries.
FIB Text annotating experimental conditions
In certain applications the precise positioning of shapes can be
made much simpler by overlaying a previously acquired image, or an
image from another source such as an optical microscope. The NPVE
supports image overlay, alignment and transparency adjustment.
Source: “ZEISS NPVE Nanopatterning &
Visualization Engine” by Carl Zeiss
For more information on this source, please visit Carl Zeiss.