Micrometer-Scale Machining of Metals and Polymers Enabled by Focused Ion Beam Sputtering Page: 1 of 7
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MICROMETER-SCALE MACHINING OF METALS AND POLYMERS ENABLED BY
FOCUSED ION BEAM SPUTTERING
D.P. ADAMS, G.L. BENAVIDES
Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM 87185
Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA 71272 JAN 2
This work combines focused ion beam sputtering and ultra-precision machining for
microfabrication of metal alloys and polymers. Specifically, micro-end mills are made by Ga ion
beam sputtering of a cylindrical tool shank. Using an ion energy of 20keV, the focused beam
defines the tool cutting edges that have submicrometer radii of curvature. We demonstrate 25pm
diameter micromilling tools having 2, 4 and 5 cutting edges. These tools fabricate fine channels,
26-28 microns wide, in 6061 aluminum, brass, and polymethyl methacrylate. Micro-tools are
structurally robust and operate for more than 5 hours without fracture.
Currently there is a desire for alternative microfabrication techniques that complement
existing processes such as photolithography/etching, LIGA, and laser drilling. In particular,
techniques are required to fabricate a more diverse set of materials, including metals, alloys and
plastics. These techniques must pattern high aspect ratio features and three-dimensional
structures. Such techniques would be used for prototyping or production of microcomponents
and MEMS-type devices.
In this work focused ion beam (FIB) sputtering is combined with ultra-precision machining
for microfabrication. Using focused ion beam sputtering we fabricate small cutting tools which
are capable of milling complex features in a host of materials. An advantage of focused ion
beam systems for fabrication is their precise control over feature size . Typically, the beam is
a fraction of a micrometer in diameter, allowing for small features with sub- m tolerances. A
beam can be rastered across a target sample in a number of odd-shaped two-dimensional
patterns. Furthermore, a sample can be positioned or rotated with respect to the beam to produce
a fully three-dimensional object. This has found use in several applications, most frequently for
cross sectioning of integrated circuit electronic devices for failure analysis/reverse
engineering. Also, focused ion beams are used to make sharp scanning probe microscope tips
[3-5] and diamond indenters for hardness testing .
Typical ion currents used in commercial FIB systems are low, leading to small-volume
production. Nanoamperes of current generate relatively slow material removal rates compared
with other microfabrication techniques even when chemical assist processes are used. Typically
1-5 atoms are removed per incident ion depending on the target material, ion energy and other
geometrical parameters. In this work we offset this slow rate by making tools which can be used
repeatedly. Previous work by Vasile et. al. and others  demonstrates various micro-tools
shaped by focused ion beam sputtering. In this proceeding we show several different micro-end
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Adams, D.P.; Benavides, G.L. & Vasile, M.J. Micrometer-Scale Machining of Metals and Polymers Enabled by Focused Ion Beam Sputtering, article, December 22, 1998; Albuquerque, New Mexico. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc673350/m1/1/: accessed March 24, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.