Southampton Nanofabrication Centre


The clean room provides a range of equipment for nanometrology, which enables detailed characterisation of structures and devices produced by both top-down and bottom-up nanofabrication.This equipment has the capability to provide high resolution imaging of a wide range of specimens from biological to semiconductor materials.

Focussed Ion Beam System

This system has the dual functions of sample preparation using the focussed ion beam column and sample imaging using the electron column (field emission scanning electron microscopy). Typical applications are cross-section imaging of samples and thin foil preparation for transmission electron microscopy. The system is also equipped with a Rutherford backscattering detector for the analysis of material composition.

Helium Ion Microscope

This microscope is able to perform high resolution imaging of specimen surfaces and Rutherford backscattering analysis of specimen composition.It has a better depth of focus, a higher resolution and better material contrast than a scanning electron microscope and hence is ideal for nanostructure characterisation.

Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope

The field emission electron microscope (FESEM) provides somewhat higher resolution imaging than the environmental SEM. Its primary application is for specimen imaging after electron beam lithography.

Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope

This microscope is able to image biological specimens in liquid and hence avoids problems arising from the drying or freezing of the specimens. The microscope is also equipped with X-ray fluorescence (XRF) for analysis of trace elements down to 50ppm (element dependent) with a resolution of around 50um. Higher resolution elemental analysis can be performed using the Xradia nanoXFi, which has a sub-100nm resolution. A Gatan X-ray computed tomography attachment provides 2D and 3D imaging of specimens.

Ellipsometer & Profilometer

The ellipsometer is used to measure film thickness and refractive index after material deposition. The spot size is 150um, so this information can usually be obtained from wafer scribe lanes. The profilometer uses a mechanical stylus to measure step heights after etching.