Electron beam induced chemical dry etching and imaging in gaseous NH3 environments

Institute of Physics (UK)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Nanotechnology, 2012, 23 pp. 375302 - 375302
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We report the use of ammonia (NH3) vapor as a new precursor for nanoscale electron beam induced etching (EBIE) of carbon, and an efficient imaging medium for environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM). Etching is demonstrated using amorphous carbonaceous nanowires grown by electron beam induced deposition (EBID). It is ascribed to carbon volatilization by hydrogen radicals generated by electron dissociation of NH3 adsorbates. The volatilization process is also effective at preventing the buildup of residual hydrocarbon impurities that often compromise EBIE, EBID and electron imaging. We also show that ammonia is a more efficient electron imaging medium than H2O, which up to now has been the most commonly used ESEM imaging gas.
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