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Considerations About SEM for e-Beam Lithography

Basic considerations about SEM to be used in connection with NanoMaker for e-beam lithography

  1. Most important thing is that microscope must be equipped with interface for external XY scan control (most modern SEMs have). If the interface is already used by an microanalysis or digital imaging system, a manual switch or relay box will be required. The external scan interface must have XY scan inputs within a ±10 Volts range with input impedance greater than 2 kOhms. The bandwidth of external XY scan control circuit must be better then 100 kHz.
  2. Secondary electrons image signal output in external scanning mode is required. Maximum signal altitude in range -2... +10 Volts on 15 kOhms impedance (typically in range of 0...+5 Volts ).
  3. Long-term stability of probe current (less then 1%/hour drift and noise) at typical writing accelerated voltage 25 - 30 keV. The best choice is a SEM with Schottky field emission (SFE) source.
  4. SEM resolution close to value declared by vendor. Good resolutions and linear deflection along scan field of 500 x 500 um at least, if system intended to draw large structures.
  5. Beam current measurement is required. Measurement scheme can be different depending on the microscope type. In some SEMs a Faraday cup located in block of apertures can be used for measuring. You can also measure beam current by placing a Faraday cup on a sample holder. Picoammeter is required for e-beam lithography with the range from 1 pA to microamperes at least. It can be integrated with a SEM or standalone.
  6. An electrostatic beam blanker is highly recommended. A magnetic beam blanker is suitable in most cases also. NanoMaker allows to exposure without beam blanker at all, but this constricts the range of tasks to be accomplished. Blanker should have electronics that will accept the TTL (or comparable) level of signal.
  7. An universal specimen holder with clamping springs should have sufficiently large area to carry simultaneously a Faraday cup, calibration grid and substrate to be exposed.
  8. Computer controlled motorized stage is optional. Cable connection between NanoMaker's computer port and stage controller has to be provided.
  9. Load-lock system for sample loading is preferable because significantly improves productivity.


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