Helium Ion Microscopy of Insulating Materials.

The nanoFAB is pleased to announce that direct imaging of insulating materials is now available to our user community – this is one of the unique capabilities of the newly installed Zeiss Orion Helium Ion Microscope (HiM). Preliminary results obtained by our microscopy team during the commissioning of this imaging technique have revealed previously unseen surface structures of insulating materials without the use of any anti-charging coatings.

Below are some examples of specimens varying from biological, to geological, to nanocomposite; all of these materials are completely insulating. Typical FESEM images of each sample are presented for comparison.

If you are interested in HiM imaging please contact Peng Li (peng.li@ualberta.ca), the nanoFAB Characterization Group Leader for further information.

1. Biological


Material: Bacteria; Application: Medicine; Sample courtesy of Woo Jung Cho, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta

2. Nanocomposite


Material: Gauze (fibers); Application: Wound Dressing; Sample courtesy of Dr. Imran Ulhaq, Exciton Technologies Inc., Edmonton


Material: ZnO rods on cellulose fiber; Application: Oil/water separation and scalable nano-generator; Sample courtesy of Drs. Yi Chen, Hyun-Joong Chung and John Nychka, Chemical & Materials Engineering, University of Alberta

3. Geological


Material: Tight Sandstone; Application: Mineralogy; Sample courtesy of Drs. Andy Mort and Zhuoheng Chen, Geological Survey of Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Calgary