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MONARCH Ultra-bright nanoscale SEM-on-a-chip by dfgh4bnmu



                                 Ultra-bright nanoscale SEM-on-a-chip

                                             Co-operative Research Project

                 Sixth Framework Programme, Horizontal Research Activities Involving SMEs

                                        D26 Second promotional leaflet

                                           Due date of deliverable: Month 30
                                           Actual submission date: Month 30

Start date of project: 01-Jan-07                                                     Duration: 30 months

Organisation name of lead contractor for this deliverable: Vivid Components Ltd.

 Project co-funded by the European Commission within the Sixth Framework Programme (2002-2006)
                                                 Dissemination Level
PU      Public                                                                                             X
PP      Restricted to other programme participants (including the Commission Services)
RE      Restricted to a group specified by the consortium (including the Commission Services)
CO      Confidential, only for members of the consortium (including the Commission Services)
This work was supported by the                             1
 European Commission Sixth                                                           
 Framework Programme FP6

                            Ultra-bright nanoscale SEM-on-a-chip; Jun-09

    The MONARCH project has made significant progress towards the world’s first scanning electron
    microscope (SEM) on-a-chip. Such an instrument represents a step-change in electron beam
    (e-beam) technology. This disruptive technology has dramatic implications for many sectors
    other than electron microscopy, including e-beam lithography, genetic sequencing, ultra-high
    density data storage and focused ion beam milling. In particular it could be a key enabling tool
    for the booming sectors of nanotechnology and MNEMS (micro-nano-electromechanical
    systems). Crucially it could also allow lithography on a scale suitable for true nano-electronics.

    The physics behind the MONARCH project is beautifully simple: by scaling the device dimensions
    down to the nano-scale, the voltages, beam energies and aberrations are also scaled down
    proportionally. The system becomes diffraction-limited, rather than aberration-limited, and the
    lenses can be electrostatic rather than magnetic.

    These principles have been known for decades, but the realisation of such devices has only
    been made possible through recent parallel advances in several nano-machining technologies:
    improved FIB techniques, MEMS technology and scanning probe microscopy. In short these
    techniques have transformed a thought-experiment into a realistic possibility: ultra-low energy,
    ultra-high power, ultra-pure e-beams.

                                 Project Leader : Derek Eastham; NFAB (
                                 Administration : Bruce Napier; Vivid Components (
                                 Website :
This work was supported by the                                2
 European Commission Sixth                                                           
 Framework Programme FP6

                                           Introduction to MONARCH

                                               Technical overview

  The MONARCH technical research and innovation programme brought
  together several elements:

           •Chip bodies: Custom built micro-machined structures consisting
           of an electrode stack and aperture with appropriate electrical
           contact points
           •Aperture formation: Sub-micron precision apertures through the
           chip body form the channel through the electrodes for the
           emitted electrons
           •Nano-tip manufacture: Ultra-sharp element which acts as the
           source of electrons. The size of the tip determines the
           theoretical resolution of the device
           •Detector: Captures the emitted electrons to form the image
           •Integration: All these elements were combined in an ultra-high
           vacuum (UHV) apparatus with custom control software and
           drive electronics.
   The MONARCH project ran from 01-Jan-07 to 30-Jun-09, and resulted in
   some exciting breakthroughs in this step-change technology. This
   brochure illustrates a few of the project results: for more information
   please contact the project coordinator!



      NETHERLANDS                                                                              GERMANY

                                                     •9 partners; 4 nations
                                              • Technical lead organisation: NFAB                        Map image
                                                                                                         courtesy of
                                               •Coordinator: Vivid Components.

                                 Project Leader : Derek Eastham; NFAB (
                                 Administration : Bruce Napier; Vivid Components (
                                 Website :
This work was supported by the                                     3
 European Commission Sixth                                                                       
 Framework Programme FP6

                                                 Chip body fabrication
          The MONARCH chip body was fabricated in the Netherlands by the combined
          efforts of C2V and MESA+ (at the University of Twente). The chips were
          constructed on a silicon wafer before being separated. A complex series of
          “short loop tests” had to be performed to ensure that the chip body
          performance was sufficient to withstand the high voltages put across the
          electrodes. In fact several other designs were tried, and the work to find the
          optimum design continues.

                                                                        Photo of a chip body (3x5mm2) showing electrode bond
                Photograph of a 100mm wafer containing 34 chips.
                                                                             pads on top layer and through access holes.

                                                   Aperture formation

         The MONARCH chip body was drilled to create the lens aperture.
         This process involved use of a focused gallium ion beam (FIB) to
         mill a circular aperture all the way through the stack of layers in the
         chip body. Then HF vapor etching was used to locally remove the
         exposed electrode spacer material; thereby creating the lens
         column with free standing electrodes.

          Electron micrograph showing test structures during            Electron micrograph showing detail of drilled aperture.
              optimisation of the processing parameters.               The individual electrodes (A, A’, B & C) may be observed.

                                  Project Leader : Derek Eastham; NFAB (
                                  Administration : Bruce Napier; Vivid Components (
                                  Website :
This work was supported by the                                      4
 European Commission Sixth                                                                             
 Framework Programme FP6


          A range of standard and novel techniques were investigated to
          fabricate the nanotips necessary for the MONARCH device, using
          materials including gold, molybdenum, platinum and carbon
          nanotubes. The most successful was a new technique, developed
          at Chalmers, in which a tungsten tip was sharpened in situ.

           An etched tungsten tip was moved into contact with a platinum layer and a voltage was applied between the tip and the
          layer causing a current to flow. The resulting heating effect caused the removal of the tungsten oxide from the end of the
           tip (which was the aim of the exercise). However, it was found that if further heating was applied until the bare tungsten
                           melted, and then the tip retracted from the surface, an atomically sharp tip was created.

                                                       Integrated device

       The individual elements of the MONARCH device have been
       successfully fabricated by the consortium. Nanofactory Instruments
       has built the drive electronics and software interface to permit nano-
       postitioning of the nanotip relative to the aperture. The detector has
       been built and tested and the whole system is integrated inside a
       UHV system at this prototype stage. This apparatus has been used
       successfully to image a test structure, and work continues to take
       this exciting technology towards commercialisation.

        Micrograph showing successful nano-positioning                  Photograph showing inside the UHV system. A collector wire
         of a nanotip to a FIBed aperture during testing                  was used during testing to capture scattered electrons.

                                   Project Leader : Derek Eastham; NFAB (
                                   Administration : Bruce Napier; Vivid Components (
                                   Website :

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