VELION at the WWU Münster

In February this year a VELION FIB-SEM system from Raith was installed at the Center of Soft Nanoscience (SoN) at the University of Münster (WWU), Germany. Together with an EBPG5150 Electron Beam Lithography system, an ELPHY attachment and the recently installed VELION, WWU now operates three Raith systems in total.

The VELION combines a focused ion beam FIB column with a SEM column. These technologies, synergized with a high-precision laser interferometer stage, allow researchers to structure samples more precisely, generate larger-sized structures and thus, for example, fill up entire wafers

Photo of the FIB-SEM VELION

The VELION at SoN comprises the MultiSpecies option, which delivers gold and silicon ions. In its unique setup, the SEM column is mounted sideways to the system. It enables simultaneous scanning of the sample surface and high-resolution image acquisition of the molecular structures in order to monitor the process without sacrificing patterning performance.

“SoN at WWU is the first site operating both of Raith’s turnkey systems, EBPG and VELION. The combination of systems enables researchers at SoN to take advantage of both EBL and FIB technologies. The VELION opens up new opportunities for research communities, particularly by delivering other ion species including gold and silicon. We have already scheduled joint projects and are happy to continue the great existing cooperation with WWU to exploit the full capabilities of the VELION,“ says Torsten Richter, Product Manager at Raith.

Photo of the VELION installed in Münster with customers and Raith staff
v.l. Banafsheh Abasahl, Daniel Bernhardt, Jörg Stodolka, Wolfram Pernice, Torsten Richter

FIB nanofabrication for unique applications

Prof. Wolfram Pernice, WWU is very excitied to be one of the first customers to use the VELION system: “We have been setting up a new nanofabrication facility in Münster for several years now. So far our primary focus has been eletron beam lithography, and now being able to combine that with ion beam lithography gives us entirely new possibilities. Being able to use this new tool for long term exposures and really large area fabrication is really exciting and will be a new focus of our research activity. We already have three instruments from Raith […] and we are able to combine these three instruments in entirely new ways which is very nice as it gives us unique capabilities that I don’t think are available at other places in Germany. So it’s a perfect constellation.”

One of the first projects for the research group will be to use the VELION for the production of artificial neural networks, where the system automatically detects surface nanostructures which need improvement and carries out the requisite adjustment with the ion beam. Other focus topics will be research into quantum technologies and materials science. The research in both fields will benefit from working with different ions as they do not lead to charging effects and Si and Au beams cause less damage than conventionally applied ions.

The SoN at WWU

The Center for Soft Nanoscience, which was inaugurated in November 2018 and has almost 8,000 square metres of floor space, is home to twelve interdisciplinary teams using modern nanoanalytical methods in their work. The research groups probe the workings of functional materials and the self-organized structure of synthetic materials with desired functionality.

Logo of the MNF