New functionality for extended patterning flexibility implemented in ELPHY Quantum and ELPHY Plus

Universal nanofabrication with pattern generators attached to SEMs or FIB-SEMs requires extremely comprehensive patterning strategies and functionality. Catering to this need, ELPHY Quantum and ELPHY Plus have now been upgraded with 3 major software modules: Patterning on Image, FLEXposure, and Recipe Manager. Furthermore all three ELPHY`s now operate under Windows 10. 

Patterning on image (POI) functionality is convenient, or even essential, for applications using focused ion beam (FIB) milling and focused electron (or ion) beam induced processing. The function enables a pattern to be designed directly onto a freshly acquired SEM or FIB image and the patterning process to be started directly with no need for any timeconsuming and elaborate alignment procedure at the same sample location. It is important to note that the design is handled as a true GDSII design format within the Raith POI functionality, so that it can be stored, recalled, and modified for subsequent patterning processes.  

Patterning on Image functionality: GDSII patterns can be directly designed onto the SEM/FIB-SEM image in the background with “perfect overlay” and launched immediately, thus avoiding time-consuming sample/design alignment procedures.

For FIB nanofabrication tasks in particular, the patterning result can depend significantly on the patterning strategy. Given this, ultimate flexibility with regard to directional scanning/patterning modes is essential. Loops or blocks of loops for quasi-static FIB-milling processes complement the set of patterning attributes within Raith´s FLEXposure software module. Note that all these attributes are assignable for any single individual shape within the GDSII design. 

Illustration of different paaterning modes

FLEXposure* attributing per pattern shape within GDSII, multiple choice of directional patterning – in total 5 main operating modes with 47 submodes

A set of routine patterning parameters and attributes that have typically been established after an elaborate patterning process development can be stored as a recipe in the Recipe Manager software module. For a standard process, this recipe can simply be dragged and dropped onto a shape or group of shapes in the GDSII design, thus assigning all required patterning info for a standard process at once.

Recipe Manager: A set of patterning parameters and attributes for a specific (standard) process can be stored in the Recipe Manager Database and later recalled and modified if required. The recipe can be assigned to a single individual or a group of shapes in the GDSII editor by simple “drag and drop.” 

Even in spite of the ELPHY Quantum and ELPHY Plus software functionality enhancements described above, ELPHY MultiBeam, which has long since been provided with the above mentioned software functionality, is still considered to be the premium and most recommended attachment solution for state-of-the-art FIB-SEMs and helium ion Microscopes. Moreover, differential outputs for highest signal quality, hard- and software for endpoint detection for automated mill stop, and a signal router that can automatically switch from FIB to SEM control and vice versa all combine to make ELPHY MultiBeam the superior and unique pattern generator. 

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