Focused ion beam (FIB) tools were commercially introduced more than 10 years ago. The first tools were specifically designed to image features on lithographic masks and to repair defects to produce a defect-free mask. The uses for the same basic tool have expanded to include modification of advanced integrated circuits (IC); failure analysis of high-performance devices; transmission electron microscopy (TEM) sample preparation; direct writing of three-dimensional structures on a microscopic and nanoscopic level, referred to as “microstructuring”; and formation of fine, three-dimensional probe tips for use in scanning probe microscopes. In this chapter, we review the basic concepts of FIB technology and application, describe the complex microchemistries that enable advanced micromachining, and provide examples of mask repair, circuit modification, failure analysis, TEM sample preparation, and creation of microstructures. We conclude with a discussion of the future for FIB approaches in micromachining and the fundamental limitations of the technology.
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