Pleasanton, CA, United States
Pleasanton, CA, United States

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Disclosed are embodiments of an ion beam sample preparation and coating apparatus and methods. A sample may be prepared in one or more ion beams and then a coating may be sputtered onto the prepared sample within the same apparatus. A vacuum transfer device may be used with the apparatus in order to transfer a sample into and out of the apparatus while in a controlled environment. Various methods to improve preparation and coating uniformity are disclosed including: rotating the sample retention stage; modulating the sample retention stage; variable tilt ion beam irradiating means, more than one ion beam irradiating means, coating thickness monitoring, selective shielding of the sample, and modulating the coating donor holder.


Methods are disclosed for removal of outlier pixels from a transmission electron microscopy camera image. One exemplary method includes establishing a desired exposure of n electrons per pixel; exposing the camera to a series of sub-frame exposures to produce a series of sub-frame images; calculating an average image signal of all sub-frame exposures in said series; establishing a threshold selected to achieve a desired number of false positives; evaluating each of said sub-frame exposures for pixels further away from said average than said threshold; and replacing pixels in each of said sub-frame images that exceed said threshold with said average to form corrected sub-frame images.


Disclosed are embodiments of an ion beam sample preparation and coating apparatus and methods. A sample may be prepared in one or more ion beams and then a coating may be sputtered onto the prepared sample within the same apparatus. A vacuum transfer device may be used with the apparatus in order to transfer a sample into and out of the apparatus while in a controlled environment. Various methods to improve preparation and coating uniformity are disclosed including: rotating the sample retention stage; modulating the sample retention stage; variable tilt ion beam irradiating means, more than one ion beam irradiating means, coating thickness monitoring, selective shielding of the sample, and modulating the coating donor holder.


Patent
Gatan Inc. | Date: 2013-04-21

Disclosed are embodiments of an ion beam sample preparation apparatus and methods for using the embodiments. The apparatus comprises an ion beam irradiating means in a vacuum chamber that may direct ions toward a sample, a shield blocking a portion of the ions directed toward the sample, and a shield retention stage with shield retention means that replaceably and removably holds the shield in a position. The shield has datum features which abut complementary datum features on the shield retention stage when the shield is held in the shield retention stage. A retention stage lifting means allows the creation of a loading chamber that is isolated from the main vacuum chamber where sample ion beam milling takes place. A heat sink means is configured to conduct heat away from the sample undergoing sample preparation in the ion beam.


Disclosed are embodiments of an ion beam shield for use in an ion beam sample preparation apparatus and methods for using the embodiments. The apparatus has an ion beam irradiating means in a vacuum chamber that may direct ions toward a sample, a shield blocking a portion of the ions directed toward the sample, and a shield retention stage with shield retention means that replaceably and removably holds the shield in a position. The ion beam shield has datum features which abut complementary datum features on the shield retention stage when the shield is held in the shield retention stage. The shield has features which enable the durable adhering of the sample to the shield for processing the sample with the ion beam. The complementary datum features on both shield and shield retention stage enable accurate and repeatable positioning of the sample in the apparatus for sample processing and reprocessing.


Patent
Gatan Inc. | Date: 2013-07-24

Disclosed are embodiments of an ion beam sample preparation apparatus and methods. The methods operate on a sample disposed in a vacuum chamber and include steps of directing an intensity-controllable, tilt-angle controllable ion beam at a sample holder coupled to a rotation stage. The methods further include illuminating and capturing one or more images of the sample, extracting useful features from one or more images and thereafter adjusting the sample preparation steps. Further methods are disclosed for capturing sequences of images, programmatically rotating images, and displaying sequences of images with similar rotation angles. Further methods include extracting useful features from sequences of images that may change with respect to time as ion beam preparation continues.


Patent
Gatan Inc. | Date: 2015-04-16

There is disclosed a hybrid arrangement of more than one electron energy conversion mechanism in a detector arranged physically such that the electron image can be acquired from both energy converters in such a manner that selected high-illumination parts of the image can be imaged with an indirectly coupled scintillator detector and the remainder of the image acquired with the high-sensitivity/direct electron portion of the detector without readjustments in the beam position or mechanical positioning of the detector parts. Further, a mechanism to allow dynamically switchable or simultaneous linear and counted signal processing from each pixel of the image so that high-illumination areas can be acquired linearly without the severe dose rate limitation of counting and low-illumination regions can be acquired with counting, the switchover point determined by the dose rate at which signal quality breaks even between linear and counting modes.


Patent
Gatan Inc. | Date: 2013-07-24

Disclosed are embodiments of an ion beam sample preparation apparatus and methods. The apparatus has disposed in a vacuum chamber at least one tilting ion beam irradiating means with intensity control, a rotation stage with rotation control, a sample holder, and an adjustable positioning stage that has two axes of positional adjustment that are operable to move the region of the sample being prepared by the ion beam relative to the ion beam. The apparatus may also include a vacuum-tight optical window for observing the sample and a shutter for protecting the optical window from debris while the sample is prepared in the ion beam.


Patent
Gatan Inc. | Date: 2014-07-27

Ion beam sample preparation apparatus and methods are described. The apparatus has disposed in a vacuum chamber at least one tilting ion beam irradiating means with intensity control, a rotation stage with rotation control, a sample holder, and an adjustable positioning stage that has two axes of positional adjustment that are operable to move the region of the sample being prepared by the ion beam relative to the ion beam. The apparatus may also include a vacuum-tight optical window for observing the sample and a shutter for protecting the optical window from debris while the sample is prepared in the ion beam. The apparatus may also include an instrument controller responsive to the state of the apparatus and to the condition of the sample and is operable to control the preparation of the sample.


Disclosed are embodiments of an ion beam shield for use in an ion beam sample preparation apparatus and methods for using the embodiments. The apparatus comprises an ion beam irradiating means in a vacuum chamber that may direct ions toward a sample, a shield blocking a portion of the ions directed toward the sample, and a shield retention stage with shield retention means that replaceably and removably holds the shield in a position. The ion beam shield has datum features which abut complementary datum features on the shield retention stage when the shield is held in the shield retention stage. The shield has features which enable the durable adhering of the sample to the shield for processing the sample with the ion beam. The complementary datum features on both shield and shield retention stage enable accurate and repeatable positioning of the sample in the apparatus for sample processing and reprocessing.

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