Ion beam induced deposition and etching with inert He+ and Ne+ ion beams logically follow on from the more traditional gallium ion beams since they have masses between those of electrons and gallium ions. For example, the electron has a mass of 5 x 10–4 amu, helium, 4 amu, neon, 20 amu, and gallium, 70 amu. Being able to select the mass of the ions employed is important because it allows researchers to control the electronic and nuclear energy loss components and, thereby, select specific chemical and physical etching components. In this way, the ion implant range can be varied – something that can help avoid ions that may deleteriously damage the underlying substrate.

More details about the research can be found in the journal Nanotechnology 24 495303.

Further reading

Nanoporous membrane gives ion beam patterning powers (Feb 2012)
Helium ion beam milling provides higher resolution patterning (Sep 2012)