Carl Zeiss Microscopy (Peabody, MA) has launched the AURIGA® Laser, a new system that combines the AURIGA® CrossBeam (FIB-SEM) workstation with a pulsed micro-focus laser for fast ablation of material. The AURIGA® Laser examines samples where the target structure is buried under material layers. Ablation with a pulsed micro-focus laser beam preserves the sample, while enabling ablation rates comparable to mechanical removal. The scanning laser is a nanosecond-pulsed, diode-pumped solid-state laser operating at 355 nm provided by Trumpf AG (Ditzingen, Germany).

In order to protect the AURIGA FIB-SEM workstation and detectors from debris generated during the laser ablation process, the system is equipped with a separate chamber for laser operation. After preparing the structure of interest with the laser, the sample is transferred under vacuum conditions to the main chamber for SEM examination or FIB polishing. To realize specific ablation patterns, the laser is equipped with CAD software controlling the scanner head. This feature enables the user to pre-define complex patterns of the sample structure.

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This article first appeared in the July, 2012 issue of Photonics Tech Briefs Magazine.

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