At the Microscopy and Microanalysis 2008 meeting and exhibition being held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Carl Zeiss SMT, a leading global provider of electron- and ion-beam imaging and analysis equipment, introduced a new, improved Helium Ion Microscope called the ORION® PLUS. The original ORION instrument, introduced almost exactly one year ago, demonstrated that Helium ion microscopy has a uniquely powerful set of features that allow scientists to see things never before visible. And now it's even better.
The ORION® PLUS incorporates several design enhancements that deliver improved imaging:
- The tip geometry has been modified to increase the accelerating voltage of the helium ions, resulting in improved resolution;
- A new “Clear View” sample cleaning system combines plasma cleaning, heating elements and an in-situ vapor cleaning technique to remove hydrocarbons from the sample and the environment preventing re-deposition in the area being scanned, which results in increased surface detail;
- An enhanced signal collection technique called “Signal Boost” increases electron collection at short working distances for improved signal to noise; and
- An operating mode called “Quiet Mode Imaging” is an approach based on the use of a cryomechanical pump for cooling the source – instead of liquid nitrogen – where users can virtually eliminate vibration for noise-free images. This approach also provides a colder ion source, which yields an increase in brightness.
Dirk Stenkamp, a member of the Board of Carl Zeiss SMT, said, “We are proud of the magnitude of improvement we have been able to achieve in only a year of development since the introduction of the first commercially practical Helium ion beam microscope. We will continue to push the envelope of advanced microscopy, delivering solutions that enable scientists to see and create at the nanometer scale.”