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The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Malaysia

Helium Ion Microscopy at the University of Southampton Seminar

17:00 - 18:00
19 March 2015

Event details

As part of the Mountbatten cleanroom rebuild following a devastating fire in 2005, the University of Southampton became one of the first places in the world to take delivery of a helium ion microscope.


Helium ion microscopy (HIM) is a new surface imaging technique, similar to scanning electron microscopy (SEM) but based on a focused beam of helium ions rather than electrons. The larger mass and so smaller de Broglie wavelength of helium ions compared to electrons, together with the bright and atomically sharp source and less scattering as the beam enters a sample, enables complex nanostructures to be imaged at high resolutions with ease. The small beam divergence angle results in a large depth-of-field, typically 5-10 times that for SEM. Furthermore, an electron flood gun can be used to neutralize charging, making high resolution imaging of insulating samples possible without coating. In this presentation, several examples of investigations conducted at Southampton with the helium ion microscope will be described. These include projects exploring antireflective ‘black silicon’ surfaces, the micro and nanoscale structures responsible for the optical properties of the wings of some species of butterfly and the complex three-dimensional microstructures of blood clots. The benefits of high resolution, high surface sensitivity and large depth-of-field imaging available with the HIM, on both conductive and insulating samples, will be demonstrated and a method for extracting 3D information using stereo-imaging in the HIM will presented.



Speaker information

Stuart Boden,graduated from the University of Oxford in 2004 with a first class honours degree in Materials Science. In 2009, he was awarded a PhD in Electronics and Electrical Engineering from the University of Southampton for his work on the development of nanostructured antireflective surfaces for photovoltaics. Stuart then secured a post-doctoral research fellowship with the Nano Research Group in ECS, funded by Carl Zeiss, to develop applications for a new type of scanning charged-particle microscope called a helium ion microscope. He developed expertise in a range of nanofabrication and characterization techniques, and now manages the focused ion beam facility at the Southampton Nanofabrication Centre in ECS. Stuart was appointed as a lecturer for ECS in November 2013 and he currently teaches semiconductor devices and supervises a number of undergraduate and MSc projects. He also helps to manage Southampton’s involvement in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in New and Sustainable Photovoltaics. Stuart’s research interests include the development of novel antireflection and light trapping schemes for silicon solar cells and the use of focused ion beams for nanoscale imaging, lithography and device prototyping. He also provides consultancy for a number of companies through ECS Partners Ltd.

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