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Carl Zeiss SMT sets new record milestone in
sub-Angstrom e-beam imaging

Young's fringe pattern revealing useable image resolution of 0.8 Angstrom. Inset shows image resolution of even down to 0.7 Angstrom for certain image directions, nearly equaling the theoretically achievable resolution limit.

Oberkochen, 21.01.2005. Carl Zeiss SMT announces a major break-through by achieving a record image resolution of 0.8 Angstrom (0.08 nanometer) during qualification of its latest generation ultra-high-resolution transmission electron microscope (UHRTEM).

The milestone was achieved using a newly developed 200 kV field-emission UHRTEM equipped with electron optical components for aberration correction, electron beam monochromatization and energy filtered imaging, partly co-developed with CEOS GmbH, Heidelberg. By unique and proprietary integration of these advanced components into a revolutionary new UHRTEM platform, image resolution of even down to 0.7 Angstrom was demonstrated for certain image directions which nearly equals the theoretically achievable resolution limit (one Angstrom is a tenth of a nanometer, while a nanometer is one billionth of a meter). The TEM instrument is specifically designed for sub-Angstrom characterization of advanced materials and device structures, e.g. for atomic scale analysis of transistor gate areas, and will be made available to demanding customers in cutting-edge nanotechnology research and development.

"We are highly impressed by the latest results in high-resolution TEM development achieved by Carl Zeiss SMT. Especially combined with its proprietary energy filter technology this tool combines resolution and analytical capabilities required for successful process development and control of leading edge IC devices for current and future technology generations", stated Dr. Udo Nothelfer, Vice President AMD Fab30 Dresden.

"In addition to semiconductor industry requirements, artifact-free imaging at utmost resolution will also serve the world's growing nanotechnology community to characterize new devices and materials down to the atomic scale and even below, especially where non-periodic structures like crystal defects and interfaces become of increasing significance. By development of our sub-Angstrom resolution TEM, we enable our most demanding customers to enter the "magic" sub-Angstrom regime defining the key properties of materials", stated Jan Vermeulen, Marketing Director of Carl Zeiss SMT.

For demonstration of the achieved image resolution, Young's fringes patterns (as exemplified in the picture) have been generated from micrographs recorded at 800,000 times image magnification and image acquisition times of one second. The energy spread of the field emission source was reduced by the monochromator to 0.2 eV and a residual spherical aberration of the objective lens (Cs value) of approximately -3 µm was obtained using the integrated aberration corrector from CEOS GmbH. An amorphous Tantalum thin film was used as specimen. Four ring insets, calibrated by gold lattice reflections, indicate the 1.0, 0.9, 0.8 and 0.7 Angstrom resolution limits (from inside to outside). For all image directions, the fringe contrast clearly extends to the 0.8 Angstrom ring and even extends to the 0.7 Angstrom ring for certain image directions.


Carl Zeiss SMT´s newly developed sub-Angstrom UHRTEM with revolutionary column suspension concept.


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