Broad-Beam Ion Milling

Ion beam milling is a unique method of sample preparation that complements and significantly extends the capabilities of the traditional microscopy and metallographic laboratories.

Broad-Beam Ion MillThe ion beam milling method uses high-energy argon ion bombardment to remove material or
modify the surface of a sample. An ion gun directs energetic argon ions toward the sample, which is placed so that the surface is bombarded at a controlled angle. A low angle of ion incidence with respect to the sample surface gradually removes surface layers of material at the atomic level - cleaning and polishing the sample. Surface modification to produce contrast or microstructure can be realized with higher milling angles up to 90°. Thus, ion beam milling effectively removes contamination and mechanically deformed material to produce nearly artifact-free surfaces for SEM and light microscopy inspection. 

Typical Applications

  • Preparing cross sections of semi-conductor devices
  • Removing contamination films
  • Removing thin plating layers to reveal substrate
  • Surface modification to reveal microstructure for materials difficult to chemically etch
  • Sectioning of soft materials or soft-hard material combinations

Contact us to discuss which evaluation method is best suited to solve your materials-related problems. Or visit our Handbook of Analytical Methods for Materials (HAMM) for more in-depth explanations and typical applications of the analytical methods used for the characterization and evaluation of materials and products.