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24 November 2006


TEM sample prep system with adaptive ion milling technology

At the Electronic Device Failure Analysis Society's 32nd International Symposium for Testing and Failure Analysis (ISTFA) in Austin, TX, USA last week, Sela Ltd of Upper Yokneam, Israel, which has supplied over 250
engineering and failure analysis systems since 1992, launched the Xact, the first transmission electron microscopy (TEM) sample preparation system using
new AIM (Adaptive Ion Milling) technology.

The new system was developed to overcome the limitations of focused ion beam (FIB) technology regarding artifacts, size of selected area, lamella thickness and productivity.

The Xact incorporates a scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) unit. The twin-beam technology is uniquely configured to enable artifact-free sample clarity and automated, in-line, precise end-point detection.

A key feature of AIM is a versatile ion gun assembly with controllable energy for not just aggressive milling but also gentle milling, and a controllable dynamic beam that can impact a specimen at a multitude of angles.

AIM reduces sample widths to below 50nm over a large area with high precision, artifact-free (wedge-like) quality, high throughput, and low cost of ownership, Sela claims. The system incorporates a five-axes positioning and micro-positioning manipulator for loading/unloading, alignment,
calibration and movement of the sample holder. An optimized air lock allows rapid sample loading and vacuum readiness. The Xact is also recipe driven for accuracy and ease of use.

"The Xact addresses engineering and FA problems linked to the semiconductor and nanotechnology industry roadmap for at least the next two to three generations," says CEO Colin Smith. "Our AIM technology is incorporated in a
twin-beam system engineered specifically for sample preparation." Sela is already working on customer samples and is processing a new tool order for delivery within the next quarter.