Centre for High-Throughput Phenogenomics

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Helios NanoLab 650 Focussed Ion Beam SEM

Helios NanoLab 650
Helios NanoLab 650 FIB-SEM

The FEI Helios NanoLab 650 dual beam is a state-of-the-art scanning electron microscope (SEM) and a focused ion beam (FIB) packaged in one, designed for extreme high-resolution 2D and 3D characterization, nanoprototyping, and sample preparation. The incredible versatility of this machine accommodates conventional imaging and analysis in addition to site-specific analysis, deposition, and ablation of materials with the ion beam. At the Centre for High-Throughput Phenogenomics, the SEM has been configured to provide complete analysis of the sample. This includes true surface imaging, atomic number imaging, elemental analysis (Energy Dispersive X-ray spectroscopy), and crystal orientation (Electron Backscattered Diffraction).

Although the FIB can be used for imaging at high resolution the main purpose of this source is for sample preparation. The FIB can be used to remove materials for the preparation of cross-sections as well as electron transparent lamellae for subsequent Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy.

However, the main advantage of the Helios NanoLab 650 dual beam is the capability of sample preparation followed by analysis of the sample in 3D. In this case both SEM and FIB are used, following an iterative process, whereby the SEM is used to image the remaining surface of the specimen after a defined thickness has been removed by FIB. Ultimately, each acquired image can be processed to create a 3D model of the sample and viewed at any orientation using 3D visualization software for further processing such as segmentation and modelling.

Additional Information:

Key feature of the Helios NanoLab 650 dual beam at the CHTP:


  • Elstar XHR immersion lens FESEM column:
    • Landing voltage range 50 V - 30 KeV
    • Probe current 0.6 pA - 26 nA
    • Resolution at optimum WD 1.5 nm at 200 V; 0.9 nm at 1 keV;
    • 0.8 nm at 30 keV
    • Beam deceleration with stage bias from -50 eV to -4 KeV
  • Tomahawk ion column with Gallium ion source with TOF correction and 2 stage differential pumping:
    • Landing voltage range 500 V - 30 keV
    • Probe current 1 pA - 65 nA (beam current density up to 60 A/cm2)
    • Resolution 4.5 nm at 30 keV (preferred statistical method)
    • Resolution 2.5 nm at 30 keV (selective edge method)
  • Maximum horizontal field width:
    • E-beam 2.3 mm
    • I-beam 1.0 mm


  • High precision 5 axes motorized stage:
    • XY = 150 mm (repeatability (1.0 um)
    • Z = 10 mm
    • Tilt range -10 to +60 (accuracy 0.1o between 50-54°)
    • Rotation 360°
  • Chamber sample loading (approximately 10 minutes):
    • Sample size:
      • 150 mm diameter with full rotation
      • weight max. 500 g including sample holder
  • Quickloader loadlock (for fast sample transfer 3 minutes):
    • Sample size:
      • Max height 19 mm
      • Max dia 33 mm
    • FEI/Quorum CryoMAT quick loaded module providing rapid sample transfer and stage cryogenic cooling for heat sensitive samples.
  • IR chamber camera for real-time sample viewing


  • Everhart-Thornley and Elstar in-lens secondary electron detector
  • Retractable low voltage, high contrast solid state and Elstar-in-lens backscattered electron detector
  • Retractable STEM detector with BF/DF/HAADF segments
  • High performance secondary electron and secondary ion detector
  • EDAX TEAM Pegasus system with EDS (SDD detector) and EBSD (Hikari XP camera and forward scattering detector) integrated system


  • Pt deposition gas injection system
  • Micromanipulators:
    • Omniprobe 200 PC-controlled, closed loop multi-purpose nanopositioning system capable of in situ lift-out, electrical measurements, nanomechanical testing and charge neutralization in the FIB or SEM.
  • NavCam correlative Navigation Unit
  • Software:
    • Auto slice and view software for automated sequential mill and view to collect series of images for 3D reconstruction.
Detector Signal Example
Everhart-Thornley Secondary Electrons (surface imaging) Slideshow 1 - True surface imaging conditions demonstrated with an anodized commercially pure titanium sample with the ET detector. Lowering the accelerating voltage stepwise from 1 keV, 500e V to 350 eV demonstrates the differences in the information obtained from the surface.
Backscattered Electrons (atomic number contrast) Slideshow 2 - Surface imaging capability with backscattered electrons at 2 keV.
Elstar in-lens Secondary Electrons Slideshow 3 - Comparative equivalents of high-resolution secondary (images 1 and 2) and backscattered (3 and 4) electron images demonstrated with anodized commercially pure titanium sample.
Backscattered Electrons
Retractable low voltage, high-contrast solid-state BSE detector Backscattered Electrons (atomic number contrast) Slideshow 4 - Low voltage backscattered imaging of commercially pure titanium.
STEM Transmitted electrons
Bright field/
Dark field /
High Angle Annular Dark Field
Slideshow 5 - STEM (in progress)
ICE Secondary Electrons and Secondary Ions Slideshow 6 - The ICE detector can image using secondary electrons and secondary ions. Oxides are usually visible with Secondary Ions.


For more information about the capabilities and use of this machine, please send an e-mail.

Booking Calendar

Click here to view the booking calendar for the Helios 650 FIB-SEM...


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UBC Centre for High-Throughput Phenogenomics
2405 Wesbrook Mall | Vancouver, BC | Canada | V6T 1Z3
Tel: 604-822-6641

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