A liquid metal ion source (LMIS) is an ion source which uses metal that is heated to the liquid state and used to form an electrospray to form ions. An electrospray Taylor cone is formed by the application of a strong electric field and ions are produced by field evaporation at the sharp tip of the cone, which has a high electric field. Ions from a LMIS are used in ion implantation and in focused ion beam instruments. Typically gallium (Ga) is preferred for its low melting point, low vapor pressure, its relatively unreactive nature, and because the gallium ion is sufficiently heavy for ion milling.
Three common suppliers of Ga LMIS are FEI Company, Orsay Physics, and Seiko Corporation. Applied Beams provides LMIS for systems from each of these suppliers, either as new sources or by refilling the source reservoir with gallium.
1. Swanson, L.W. (1983). “Liquid metal ion sources: Mechanism and applications”. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research. 218 (1-3): 347–353. doi:10.1016/0167-5087(83)91005-0. ISSN 0167-5087.
2. Clampitt, R. (1981). “Advances in molten metal field ion sources”. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research. 189 (1): 111–116. doi:10.1016/0029-554X(81)90132-4. ISSN 0167-5087.
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