In 1993, we introduced the world’s first DualBeam system, the DualBeam 620. By combining the capabilities of focused ion beam (FIB) and scanning electron microscopes (SEM) into a single platform, we created a totally new instrument in the world of scientific research.
A FIB instrument has a similar working principle as a SEM, but it uses a beam of ions rather than electrons to mill a specimen surface with nanometer precision. In a DualBeam system, the electron and ion beams intersect at a coincidence point near the sample surface, producing an immediate, high resolution SEM image of the FIB-milled surface. A DualBeam delivers high beam quality and extremely accurate control of its position, which allows researchers to perform precise nano-machining, produce nanoscale components, and perform subsurface and 3D characterization.
Numerous innovations followed that first DualBeam system. In 2006, we unveiled our first Helios system, the Helios G1, and by 2016 we shipped our 1,000 Helios DualBeam system to a semiconductor customer to perform advanced failure analysis on sub-20nm semiconductor chips. During the decade between those two milestones, we made four major revisions to the Helios platform. Each new generation offered substantial improvements, including higher resolution, a monochromated SEM column, low voltage FIB performance, and advanced automation capabilities that enable users with any level of experience to achieve high-quality reproducible results faster and easier than ever before.
To continue this legacy, we are launching a new, fifth generation Helios in 2019 that will enable novice users to get expert results.
As we celebrate 25 years of DualBeam microscopy and the many breakthroughs our systems have enabled, we are planning the next steps in that journey and looking forward to another quarter century of innovation. Be the first to hear about Helios 5 by following us on LinkedIn.
Trisha Rice is the Vice President and General Manager, Materials Science at Thermo Fisher Scientific.