Patents by Inventor Robert L. Gerlach

Robert L. Gerlach has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Patent number: 7009187
    Abstract: A particle detector switchable from an ion detector to an electron detector includes an ion-to-electron converter and a scintillator detector. With one set of voltages on the components, the converter has minimal impact on the electron trajectories so the electrons are efficiently detected by the scintillator detector. With different voltage settings on the components, the detector can be operated in positive ion mode to collect positive ions with adequate efficiency for most FIB applications.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 26, 2003
    Date of Patent: March 7, 2006
    Assignee: FEI Company
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Mark W. Utlaut, Trevor Dingle, Marek Uncovsky
  • Patent number: 6977386
    Abstract: The present invention provides improved angular aperture schemes for generating shaped beam spots having a desired geometric shape from rectangular, elliptical, and semi-elliptical apertures having one sharp edge. A sharper beam edge can be generated by offsetting the rectangular or elliptical aperture in combination with under or over focus. In the spherical aberration limit, under-focused semi-circle apertures provide a sharp, flat edge. The sharp edge can be made resolute enough for precision milling applications, and at the same time, the spot can be made large enough with enough overall current and current density to efficiently mill away material in either a production or laboratory environment. Depending on the particular beam spot that is desired, combinations of techniques including defocusing, aperture offsetting, and stigmation adjustment, can be used in both spherical aberration dominant and chromatic aberration dominant environments to achieve a desired beam for a desired application.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 17, 2003
    Date of Patent: December 20, 2005
    Assignee: FEI Company
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Mark W. Utlaut
  • Patent number: 6949756
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for providing a shaped ion beam having low current density and sharp edges. The low current density and sharp edges eliminate the problem of overmilling, while permitting rapid ion beam processing. One method of producing the shaped beam is by using a two lens system, the first lens imaging the source onto the plane of the second lens and the second lens forming an image of the aperture onto the target plane. Another method is to greatly underfocus a chromatic aberration limited beam. Large beams having uniform current density and sharp edges can be produced. A knife edge beam, having a sharp edge can also be produced.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 19, 2001
    Date of Patent: September 27, 2005
    Assignee: FEI Company
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Mark W. Utlaut, Paul P. Tesch, Richard J. Young, Clive D. Chandler, Karl D. van der Mast
  • Patent number: 6946654
    Abstract: A high resolution scanning electron microscope collects secondary Auger electrons through its objective lens to sensitively determine the chemical make-up with extremely fine positional resolution. The system uses a magnetic high resolution objective lens, such as a snorkel lens or a dual pole magnetic lens which provides an outstanding primary electron beam performance. The Auger electrons are deflected from the path of the primary beam by a transfer spherical capacitor. The primary beam is shielded, by a tube or plates, as it traverses the spherical capacitor to prevent aberration of the primary beam and the external wall of the shield maintains a potential gradient related to that of the spherical capacitor to reduce aberration of the primary electron beam. The coaxial configuration of the primary electron beam and the collected secondary electron beam allows the Auger image to coincide with the SEM view.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 23, 2001
    Date of Patent: September 20, 2005
    Assignee: FEI Company
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Karel D. van der Mast, Michael R. Scheinfein
  • Patent number: 6900447
    Abstract: A system including co-axial focused ion beam and an electron beam allows for accurate processing with the FIB using images formed by the electron beam. In one embodiment, a deflector deflects the electron beam onto the axis of the ion beam and deflects secondary particles collected through the final lens toward a detector. In one embodiment, a positively biased final electrostatic lens focuses both beams using the same voltage to allow simultaneous or alternating FIB and SEM operation. In one embodiment, the landing energy of the electrons can be varied without changing the working distance.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 6, 2003
    Date of Patent: May 31, 2005
    Assignee: FEI Company
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Mark W. Utlaut, Michael R. Scheinfein
  • Publication number: 20040262531
    Abstract: A particle detector switchable from an ion detector to an electron detector includes an ion-to-electron converter and a scintillator detector. With one set of voltages on the components, the converter has minimal impact on the electron trajectories so the electrons are efficiently detected by the scintillator detector. With different voltage settings on the components, the detector can be operated in positive ion mode to collect positive ions with adequate efficiency for most FIB applications.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 26, 2003
    Publication date: December 30, 2004
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Mark W. Utlaut, Trevor Dingle, Marek Uncovsky
  • Patent number: 6797953
    Abstract: A charged particle beam system uses multiple electron columns to increase throughput. One or more multiple electron emitters are in one or more vacuum sealable gun chambers to allow the gun chamber to be replaced with electrons guns having emitters that have been previously conditioned so that the system does not need to be out of service to condition the newly installed emitters.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 22, 2002
    Date of Patent: September 28, 2004
    Assignee: FEI Company
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Paul P. Tesch, Walter Skoczylas
  • Patent number: 6797969
    Abstract: A multi-gun FIB system for nanofabrication provides increased throughput at reduced cost while maintaining resolution. Multiple guns are maintained in modular gun chambers that can be vacuum isolated from the primary vacuum chamber containing the targets. A system can include multiple gun chambers, each of which van include multiple guns, with each gun chamber being capable of being vacuum isolated, so that each gun chamber can be removed and replaced without disturbing the vacuum in other gun chambers or in the main chamber. An optical column is associated with each gun. Optical elements for multiple columns can be formed in a bar that extends into several columns. Some of the optical elements are positioned in the gun chambers and others are positioned in the primary vacuum chamber. A through-the-lens secondary particle collection can be used in connection with each of the individual columns.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 8, 2001
    Date of Patent: September 28, 2004
    Assignee: FEI Company
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Paul P. Tesch, Lynwood W. Swanson, Mark W. Utlaut
  • Publication number: 20040140438
    Abstract: The present invention provides improved angular aperture schemes for generating shaped beam spots having a desired geometric shape from rectangular, elliptical, and semi-elliptical apertures having one sharp edge. A sharper beam edge can be generated by offsetting the rectangular or elliptical aperture in combination with under or over focus. In the spherical aberration limit, under-focused semi-circle apertures provide a sharp, flat edge. The sharp edge can be made resolute enough for precision milling applications, and at the same time, the spot can be made large enough with enough overall current and current density to efficiently mill away material in either a production or laboratory environment. Depending on the particular beam spot that is desired, combinations of techniques including defocusing, aperture offsetting, and stigmation adjustment, can be used in both spherical aberration dominant and chromatic aberration dominant environments to achieve a desired beam for a desired application.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 17, 2003
    Publication date: July 22, 2004
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Mark W. Utlaut
  • Publication number: 20040108458
    Abstract: A system including co-axial focused ion beam and an electron beam allows for accurate processing with the FIB using images formed by the electron beam. In one embodiment, a deflector deflects the electron beam onto the axis of the ion beam and deflects secondary particles collected through the final lens toward a detector. In one embodiment, a positively biased final electrostatic lens focuses both beams using the same voltage to allow simultaneous or alternating FIB and SEM operation. In one embodiment, the landing energy of the electrons can be varied without changing the working distance.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 6, 2003
    Publication date: June 10, 2004
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Mark W. Utlaut, Michael R. Scheinfein
  • Patent number: 6710338
    Abstract: A portion of an ion optical column is formed using a dielectric bushing to support metallic optical elements, electrically isolate them, and form a vacuum chamber around those elements. In particular, the dielectric bushing is suitable for forming an ion gun vacuum chamber in which are contained an emitter assembly and other optical elements, the gun vacuum chamber preferably being vacuum sealable separately from the system vacuum chamber. A compact ion column includes, within the system vacuum chamber, an automated variable aperture drive mechanism and a gun chamber vacuum isolation valve activation mechanism. Including these mechanisms within the vacuum chamber facilitates the design of multi-beam systems by eliminating mechanical feedthroughs that would interfere with the placement of other components in the vacuum chamber.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 17, 2001
    Date of Patent: March 23, 2004
    Assignee: Fei Company
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Paul Tesch, Noel Paul Martin, Walter Skoczylas, Drew Procyk
  • Patent number: 6683320
    Abstract: An electron source provides electrons that are directed through the final lens of an ion optical column to neutralize at least a portion of the accumulated charge on a sample. The invention can optionally be combined with collection of secondary electrons through the final ion lens. A deflector directs the neutralizing electrons onto the ion beam optical axis and deflects the secondary electrons away from the optical axis for detection. For imaging, a high-pass energy filter separates secondary electrons generated from the neutralizing electron beam from secondary electrons generated by the ion beam.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 16, 2001
    Date of Patent: January 27, 2004
    Assignee: FEI Company
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Mark W. Utlaut
  • Publication number: 20020134949
    Abstract: An electron source provides electrons that are directed through the final lens of the ion optical column to neutralize at least a portion of the accumulated charge on the sample. The invention can optionally be combined with collection of secondary electrons through the final ion lens. A deflector directs the neutralizing electrons onto the ion beam optical axis and deflects the secondary electrons away from the optical axis for detection. For imaging, a high-pass energy filter separates secondary electrons generated from the neutralizing electron beam from secondary electrons generated by the ion beam.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 16, 2001
    Publication date: September 26, 2002
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Mark W. Utlaut
  • Publication number: 20020117967
    Abstract: A charged particle beam system uses multiple electron columns to increase throughput. One or more multiple electron emitters are in one or more vacuum sealable gun chambers to allow the gun chamber to be replaced with electrons guns having emitters that have been previously conditioned so that the system does not need to be out of service to condition the newly installed emitters.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 22, 2002
    Publication date: August 29, 2002
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Paul P. Tesch, Walter Skoczylas
  • Publication number: 20020084426
    Abstract: A portion of an ion optical column is formed using a dielectric bushing to support metallic optical elements, electrically isolate them, and form a vacuum chamber around those elements. In particular, the dielectric bushing is suitable for forming an ion gun vacuum chamber in which are contained an emitter assembly and other optical elements, the gun vacuum chamber preferably being vacuum sealable separately from the system vacuum chamber. A compact ion column includes, within the system vacuum chamber, an automated variable aperture drive mechanism and a gun chamber vacuum isolation valve activation mechanism. Including these mechanisms within the vacuum chamber facilitates the design of multi-beam systems by eliminating mechanical feedthroughs that would interfere with the placement of other components in the vacuum chamber.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 17, 2001
    Publication date: July 4, 2002
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Paul Tesch, Noel Paul Martin, Walter Skoczylas, Drew Procyk
  • Patent number: 6414307
    Abstract: The sensitivity of a secondary ion mass spectrometer (SIMS) is increased by using water vapor to enhance the yield of positive secondary ions sputtered by a primary focused ion beam. Water vapor is injected through a needle that is positioned close to the sample and electrically biased to reduce interference with secondary ion collection field. The sensitivity is enhanced for metals in particular, which tend to be sputtered as positive ions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 9, 1999
    Date of Patent: July 2, 2002
    Assignee: FEI Company
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Locke Christman, Mark Utlaut
  • Publication number: 20020024013
    Abstract: A high resolution scanning electron microscope collects secondary Auger electrons through its objective lens to sensitively determine the chemical make-up with extremely fine positional resolution. The system uses a magnetic high resolution objective lens, such as a snorkel lens or a dual pole magnetic lens which provides an outstanding primary electron beam performance. The Auger electrons are deflected from the path of the primary beam by a transfer spherical capacitor. The primary beam is shielded, by a tube or plates, as it traverses the spherical capacitor to prevent aberration of the primary beam and the external wall of the shield maintains a potential gradient related to that of the spherical capacitor to reduce aberration of the primary electron beam. The coaxial configuration of the primary electron beam and the collected secondary electron beam allows the Auger image to coincide with the SEM view.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 23, 2001
    Publication date: February 28, 2002
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Karel D. van der Mast, Michael R. Scheinfein
  • Publication number: 20010045525
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for providing a shaped ion beam having low current density and sharp edges. The low current density and sharp edges eliminate the problem of overmilling, while permitting rapid ion beam processing. One method of producing the shaped beam is by using a two lens system, the first lens imaging the source onto the plane of the second lens and the second lens forming an image of the aperture onto the target plane. Another method is to greatly underfocus a chromatic aberration limited beam. Large beams having uniform current density and sharp edges can be produced. A knife edge beam, having a sharp edge can also be produced.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 19, 2001
    Publication date: November 29, 2001
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Mark W. Utlaut, Paul P. Tesch, Richard J. Young, Clive D. Chandler, Karl D. van der Mast
  • Publication number: 20010032939
    Abstract: A multi-gun FIB system for nanofabrication provides increased throughput at reduced cost while maintaining resolution. Multiple guns are maintained in modular gun chambers that can be vacuum isolated from the primary vacuum chamber containing the targets. A system can include multiple gun chambers, each of which can include multiple guns, with each gun chamber being capable of being vacuum isolated, so that each gun chamber can be removed and replaced without disturbing the vacuum in other gun chambers or in the main chamber.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 8, 2001
    Publication date: October 25, 2001
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Paul Tesch, Lynwood W. Swanson, Mark W. Utlaut
  • Publication number: 20010032938
    Abstract: Secondary particles are collected along the optical axis of a focused ion beam system, thereby eliminating the need for side-mounted detectors that make close packing of multiple columns difficult and that require the final lens to be spaced further away from the target. Secondary particles can be collected through the lens and then diverted away from the optical axis of the ion column for detection without significantly degrading the resolution of the focused ion beam. Secondary particles can also be collected using a conductive plate connected to an amplifier to detect the electrical current caused by the secondary particles.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 8, 2001
    Publication date: October 25, 2001
    Inventors: Robert L. Gerlach, Mark W. Utlaut