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Keywords:

  • secondary electrons;
  • spatial information;
  • Monte Carlo simulation;
  • scanning ion microscope;
  • scanning electron microscope

Abstract

Monte Carlo simulations have been carried out to compare the spatial spreads of secondary electron (SE) information in scanning ion microscopy (SIM) with scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Under Ga ion impacts, the SEs are excited by three kinds of collision-partners, that is, projectile ion, recoiled target atom, and target electron. The latter two partners dominantly contribute to the total SE yield γ for the materials of low atomic number Z2. For the materials of high Z2, on the other hand, the projectile ions dominantly contribute to γ. These Z2 dependencies generally cause the γ yield to decrease with an increasing Z2, in contrast with the SE yield δ under electron impacts. Most of the SEs are produced in the surface layer of about 5λ in depth (λ: the mean free path of SEs), as they are independent of the incident probe. Under 30 keV Ga ion impacts, the spatial spread of SE information is roughly as small as 10 nm, decreasing with an increasing Z2. Under 10 keV electron impacts, the SE1 excited by the primary electrons has a small spatial spread of about 5λ, but the SEII excited by the backscattered electrons has a large one of several 10 to several 100 nanometers, decreasing with an increasing Z2. The main cause of a small spread of SE information at ion impact is the short ranges of the projectile ions returning to the surface to escape as backscattered ions, the recoiled target atoms, and the target electrons in collision cascade. The 30 keV Ga-SIM imaging is better than the 10 keV SEM imaging in spatial resolution for the structure/material measurements. Here, zero-size probes are assumed.