Ion milling

Ion beam thinning

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Ion beam thinning (ion milling) enables to thin specimens down to electron transparency. It usually is the final step after conventionnal grinding and in some cases after Tripod polishing.
Using electric discharge, Ar+ ions of some kV are generated and focused on the sample. The goal is  the crystal lattice destruction at the surface followed by ejection of superficial atoms,  leading to relief polishing and to suppression of the possible mechanical damages induced during the preparation.

CIME Ion millers:
–  2 Gatan PIPS. Feature: low incidence angle, sectorial rotation of the sample. Voltage: 2-5 kV
– 1 Fischione model 1010. Feature: sectorial rotation, sample can be cooled down. Voltage: 0,5-6 kV