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Contact (User Office)


Karlsruhe Nano Micro Facility
KIT-Campus North

Building 440

H.-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1

76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany


phone: +49(721)608-23123

fax: +49(721)608-26273

knmf-userofficePwv8∂kit edu

User Office

KNMF Profile

Helium Ion Microscope (HIM)

KNMF Laboratory for Microscopy and Spectroscopy

The Zeiss Orion Plus allows high-resolution imaging with high surface sensitivity and a depth-of-field 5-10 times higher than in a modern FE-SEM. The focused helium ion beam can also be used for machining at the nanoscale with feature sizes 10-20 times smaller than achievable using a Focused Ion Beam (FIB). The tool is well suited to imaging challenging samples such as polymer-based systems and biological specimens without additional sample coating. For electrically insulating samples, positive charge resulting from the ion beam is compensated by using an electron flood gun directed at the sample. In addition, it is possible to locally deposit Pt, W, or SiO2 from precursor gases using the helium ion beam.

Download technology description (PDF)


Dr. Ruth Schwaiger

Phone +49 721 608-24878
Fax +49 721 608-22347
Email ruth schwaigerRju8∂kit edu

Institute for Applied Materials (IAM-WBM) - www.iam.kit.edu/wbm/


  • Resolution: ≤ 0.35 nm
  • Magnification: 100 X – 1 000 000 X
  • Field of view: 1 mm – 100 nm
  • Beam current: 1 fA – 100 pA
  • Acceleration voltage: 10 kV – 30 kV
  • Detectors: Everhart-Thornley Secondary Electron Detector (ETD), Rutherford Backscattered Ion Detector (RBI)
  • Charge compensation: Electron flood gun
  • Base pressure: Chamber 2 x 10-6 Torr
  • Stage: Tilt 0-45°, maximum travel in x and y ±25 mm from center
  • Gas injection system for Pt, W, TEOS
  • NanoPatterning and Visualization Engine (NPVE) for advanced patterning


  • Sample has to be a solid at room temperature, dry and stable under high vacuum conditions
  • Maximum sample height 20 mm
  • Samples should be very clean prior to imaging to minimize carbon contamination

Application examples

Fig. 1a Fig. 1b
Fig. 1: 3D SURMOF (plan view and cross-sectional view, collaboration with H. Gliemann, IFG, KIT)

Fig. 2a Fig. 2b
Fig. 2: Biofilms E. faecalis DSM 2570 (24 h incubation at 37°C) on Calgary Biofilm Device (CBD) (collaboration with P. Sanyal and A. Ulrich, IBG, KIT)

Fig. 3
Fig. 3: Nanostructuring of Au nanowires (collaboration with O. Kraft, IAM-WBM, KIT)