Building with Ions: Towards Direct Write of Platinum Nanostructures Using In Situ liquid Cell Helium Ion Microscopy

Anton V. Ievlev, Jacek Jakowski; Matthew J. Burch, Vighter Iberi, Holland Hysmith, David C. Joy, Bobby G. Sumpter, Alex Belianinov, Raymond R. Unocic, and Olga S. Ovchinnikova, 2017
micrographs of nano-structure fabrication using ion beam
Image courtesy of Nanoscale


Direct write with a liquid precursor using an ion beam in situ, allows fabrication of nanostructures with higher purity than using gas phase deposition. Specifically, positively charged helium ions, when compared to electrons, localize the reaction zone to a single-digit nanometer scale. However, to control the interaction of the ion beam with the liquid precursor, as well as enable single digit fabrication, a comprehensive understanding of the radiolytic process, and the role of secondary electrons has to be developed. Here, we demonstrate an approach for directly writing platinum nanostructures from aqueous solution using a helium ion microscope, and discuss possible mechanisms for the beam-induced particle growth in the framework of Born-Oppenheimer and real-time electron dynamics models. We illustrate the nanoparticle nucleation and growth parameters through data analysis of in situ acquired movie data, and correlate these results to a fully encompassing, time-dependent, quantum dynamical simulation that takes into account both quantum and classical interactions. Finally, sub-15 nm resolution platinum structures generated in liquid are demonstrated.

Impact Statement

Helium ions present an alternative to electrons for nanolithographic applications for direct writing of nanostructures from a liquid in situ. The physical properties of the helium ion enables better spatial resolution due to reduced interaction volumes of the radiolytic species as compared electrons. Using a precurser solution of K2PtCl6, helium ion deposition of platinum nanoparticles within a liquid cell was peformed with a spatial resolution of sub 15 nm. The approach allowed the controlled formation of complex nanoscale features in situ.