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Novel Sources for Focused-ion Beams Laboratory
Location: Bldg. 216, Rm. E113
Focused beams of ions have a wide range of uses, from nanoscale imaging to the fabrication of nanomaterials. Collectively, tools that use focused ion beams make up a $300 to $600 million industry. With the goal of overcoming the shortcomings of existing ion beam technologies, this laboratory is focused on developing novel sources of ion beams that are capable of producing beams with nanoscale spot sizes. A key technology in our approach is the use of laser-cooled atoms. This technology involves using laser beams and magnetic fields to confine and cool atoms to temperatures just hundreds of millionths of a degree above absolute zero. The cold temperature of the atoms ensures that they have very small transverse velocities. When an additional laser removes single electrons from the neutral atoms to create ions, the resulting ion beam is very highly collimated and can thus be focused to a very small spot. The result is a nanoscale probe that be realized with a wide range of ionic species and beam energies.