Direct-write three-dimensional nanofabrication of nanopyramids and nanocones on Si by nanotumefaction using a helium ion microscope

L. Zhang, N. F. Heinig, S. Bazargan, M. Abd-Ellah, N. Moghimi, K. T. Leung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The recently commercialized helium ion microscope (HIM) has already demonstrated its outstanding imaging capabilities in terms of resolution, surface sensitivity, depth of field and ease of charge compensation. Here, we show its exceptional patterning capabilities by fabricating dense lines and three-dimensional (3D) nanostructures on a Si substrate. Small focusing spot size and confined ion-Si interaction volume of a high-energy helium ion beam account for the high resolution in HIM patterning. We demonstrate that a set of resolvable parallel lines with a half pitch as small as 3.5 nm can be achieved. During helium ion bombardment of the Si surface, implantation outperforms milling due to the small mass of the helium ions, which produces tumefaction instead of depression in the Si surface. The Si surface tumefaction is the result of different kinetic processes including diffusion, coalescence and nanobubble formation of the implanted ions, and is found to be very stable structurally at room temperature. Under appropriate conditions, a linear dependence of the surface swollen height on the ion doses can be observed. This relation has enabled us to fabricate nanopyramids and nanocones, thus demonstrating that HIM patterning provides a new 'bottom-up' approach to fabricate 3D nanostructures. This surface tumefaction method is direct, both positioning and height accurate, and free of resist, etch, mode and precursor, and it promises new applications in nanoimprint mold fabrication and photomask clear defect reparation.

Original languageBritish English
Article number255303
Issue number25
StatePublished - 26 Jun 2015


  • direct-write nanofabrication
  • helium ion microscopy
  • nanocones and nanopyramids


Dive into the research topics of 'Direct-write three-dimensional nanofabrication of nanopyramids and nanocones on Si by nanotumefaction using a helium ion microscope'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this