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SEM/FIB: FEI Helios NanoLab 600i DualBeam

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The instrument is an FEI Helios NanoLab 600i DualBeam SEM/FIB, containing both a focused Ga+ ion beam ("Tomahawk") and a high resolution field emission scanning electron ("Elstar") column. Combined with advances in patterning, scripting, and a suite of accessories, these features make milling, imaging, analysis, and sample preparation down to the nanoscale possible as standard applications in the lab.


  • Elstar UHR immersion lens FESEM column
    • Accelerating voltage range: 0.35 – 30 kV
    • Beam deceleration with stage bias from -50 V to -4 kV
      • Landing voltage range 20 V – 30 kV
    • Probe current range: 0.7 pA to 22 nA
    • Electron beam resolution at optimum WD
      • 0.8 nm at 30 kV (STEM)
      • 0.9 nm at 15 kV
      • 1.4 nm at 1 kV
    • Electron beam resolution at coincident point
      • 0.9 nm at 15 kV
      • 1.6 nm at 5 kV
      • 2.5 nm at 1 kV
  • Tomahawk ion column
    • Accelerating voltage range: 0.5 – 30 kV
    • Probe current range: 0.1 pA – 65 nA with 15 apertures
    • Time-of-flight (TOF) correction
    • Ion beam resolution at coincident point
      • 4.0 nm at 30 kV using preferred statistical method
      • 2.5 nm at 30 kV using selective edge method
  • High precision 5-axes motorized stage
  • XY: 150 mm, piezo-driven
  • Z: 10 mm, motorized
  • T: -10º – 60º
  • R: n x 360º (endless), piezo-driven
  • Tilt accuracy (between 50º to 54º): 0.1º
  • X, Y repeatability: 1.0 µm
  • Detectors
    • Elstar in-lens SE detector (TLD-SE)
    • Elstar in-lens BSE detector (TLD-BSE)
    • Everhart-Thornley SE detector (ETD)
    • IR camera for viewing sample/column
    • Door-mounted Nav-Cam
    • High performance Ion Conversion and Electron (ICE) detector for secondary ions (SI) and electrons (SE)
    • Retractable low voltage, high contrast solid-state electron detector (DBS)
    • Retractable STEM detector with BF/DF/HAADF segments
    • Beam current measurement
  • Chamber
    • 4mm E- and I-beam coincidence point at analytical WD
    • Angle between electron and ion columns: 52º
    • Maximum sample size: 150 mm diameter with full rotation
    • Maximum clearance between stage and coincidence point: 55 mm
    • Sample Weight: maximum 500 g (including the sample holder)
  • Image processor
    • Dwell time range from 0.025 to 25,000 µs/pixel
    • Up to 6144 x 4096 pixels
    • SmartSCAN (256 frame average or integration, line integration and averaging, interlaced scanning) and DCFI (Drift Compensated Frame Integration)
  • Supporting software
    • "Beam per quad" graphical user interface concept, with up to 4 simultaneously active quads
    • FEI SPI, iSPI, iRTM and FIB immersion mode for advanced, real-time SEM and FIB process monitoring and endpointing
    • Patterns supported: lines, rectangles, polygons, circles, annuli, cross-sections, and cleaning cross-sections
    • Image registration
    • Directly imported BMP file or streamfile for 3D milling and deposition
    • Material file support for "minimum loop time," beam tuning and independent overlaps
  • Accessories
    • Gas Injection Systems
      • MultiChem (TM)
        • Tungsten deposition
        • Carbon deposition
        • Insulator enhanced etch (XeF2)
        • Selective Carbon Mill (patented)
        • TEOS (silica)
      • Platinum deposition
    • Omniprobe AutoProbe 200 in situ sample lift-out system
    • Quorum PP3010T cryo system
    • FIB Charge Neutralizer
    • Ingerated Plasma Cleaner
    • FEI CryoCleaner
    • AutoFIB
      • macro and script-based DualBeam automation
    • MAPS
      • Automatic acquisition of large images and correlative work
    • AutoTEM
      • Automated TEM sample preparation with sectioning
    • GDStoDB and NanoBuilder
      • Basic and advanced FEI proprietary CAD-based (GDSII) solutions for FIB and beam deposition optimized nanoprototyping of complex structures
    • AutoSlice and View
      • Automated sequential mill and view to collect series of slice images for 3D reconstruction
    • EDAX TEAM EDS Enhanced Analysis System including Octane Plus detector
      • Octane Silicon Drift Detector
        • 30 mm2 sensor
        • Super Ultra Thin Window (SUTW) for element detection sensitivity down to Beryllium (Be)
      • TEAM EDS enhanced software suite for data acquisition, analysis and reporting

Restrictions on samples: The sample material must be able to withstand a high vacuum environment without outgassing. It must be clean. It may be attached to the sample holder using a suitable SEM vacuum-quality adhesive (please check with us first). The sample must be electrically grounded to the sample holder to minimize sample charging. If the sample is nonconductive (plastic, fiber, polymer, or other substance with an electrical resistance greater than 1E10 ohms), certain strategies may need to be employed for successful work, and please check with us regarding those. For Au/Pd (60:40 ratio) coating on your samples, please see SEM: Sample Coating Service.

Contact Information

Richard Chin
office: (650) 723-8142

Juliet Jamtgaard
office: (650) 736-1256

Spilker 008B
lab: (650) 736-6795

Getting Started and Training Information

In order to become a qualified user on the tool, you need to follow each of these steps in the order as listed here:

  1. Complete the process to become a lab member of SNSF and follow the instructions to activate a Badger account.
  2. Complete the Online SEM course.
    • The course is hosted in Nano @ Stanford. The SEM module is located under Microscopy.
  3. Complete the Helios Training Request Form. You will be placed in the queue in the order you submit the form, pending completion of steps (1) and (2).
  4. For Beginning Users, basic Helios training will require 4, 2-hr sessions:
    • Session 1: Instrument overview, sample loading, and SEM fundamentals.
    • Session 2: Hands-on review of Session 1, FIB patterning and endpointing.
    • Session 3: Hands-on review of Session 2 on your own sample.
    • Session 4: Final test on your own sample.
    • If needed, Sessions 3 or 4 may be repeated as necessary to achieve independence on the Helios.  For Apreo and Magellan users, Sessions 1 and 2 may be combined into one session.
  5. Complete a Beginner’s Permit.
    • The trainee must complete three sessions on their own samples, mounted and ready to image.
    • The sessions must be between 8:30am-5pm on different days.
    • The sessions will require a trainer to be present through the sample loading process.
    • The trainee must demonstrate safety and competence in instrument operation to the satisfaction of the trainer to earn a "sign-off."

After you are qualified on the Helios 600i, you may sign up for technique sessions, such as Omniprobe Training or EDS Training. These advanced sessions are offered on an as-needed basis. They are designed to provide a basic introduction to the technique, and further training may be required by the instructor.