The FEI Helios Nanolab G3 CX DualBeam FIB/SEM was installed in October 2015 and incorporates several advanced technologies that are the first of their kind in Australia.

FEI Helios FIB

It is the third generation of FEI's Helios Nanolab Ultra High Resolution Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) equipped with Focused Ion Beam (FIB) technology, offering sub-nanometre resolution electron beam imaging over a large operating voltage range, 3D (volumetric) imaging, site-specific sample preparation and nano-fabrication capabilities.

The instrument is equipped with an array of in-lens, in-column, and chamber detectors, bright field, dark field and high angle annular dark field STEM detectors, and an 80mm2 Oxford Instruments X-Max SDD EDX detector for microanalysis. Using FEI's MAPS imaging software, automatic acquisition of large images and correlative workflows, for example combining optical microscopy and SEM, are made possible.

This facility was funded through the Australian Research Council (LIEF grant LE150100006), with support from UWA, Curtin, Murdoch, ECU, Sydney University and CSIRO.


  • Secondary electron (SE) imaging
  • Backscattered electron (BSE) imaging
  • Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), including bright field (BF), dark field (DF) and high angle annular dark field (HAADF) modes
  • Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) – point mode and mapping (using the AZtec software) — 3D (using the INCA software)
  • Automatic acquisition of large images (using the MAPS software)
  • Correlative microscopy (using the MAPS software)
  • 3D (volumetric) imaging (using the automated Slice-and-View software)
  • Site-specific sample preparation for TEM, SIMS, atom probe and other analytical techniques
  • Nano-machining and nano-fabrication (using the Nanobuilder software)

Instrument specifications

Electron optics:

  • Elstar UHR immersion lens column
  • Schottky field emission source
  • Accelerating voltage range: 200 V to 30 kV
  • Beam deceleration with stage bias from -50 V to -4 kV
  • Probe current range: 0.8 pA to 22 nA
  • Landing energy range 20 eV to 30 keV
  • 0.8 nm resolution at 30 kV
  • 1.4 nm resolution at 1 kV
  • Elstar in-lens SE and BSE detectors (TLD)
  • Elstar in-column BSE detectors (Mirror Detector (MD) and ICD)
  • Everhart-Thornley SE detector (ETD)
  • Retractable low voltage, high contrast solid-state backscatter electron detector (CBS)
  • Retractable STEM detector with BF/DF/HAADF segments (STEM3)

Ion optics:

  • Tomohawk field emission focused ion beam optics
  • Liquid gallium metal ion source
  • Accelerating voltage range: 500 V to 30 kV
  • Probe current range: 0.1 pA to 65 nA
  • 4.0 nm resolution at 30 kV
  • FIB optimized secondary ion and electron detector (ICE)


  • High-resolution digital patterning engine controlled from the User Interface
  • Maximum resolution: 64k x 64k
  • Maximum pattern size: 16 mil. pixels per single pattern
  • Minimum Dwell Time: 25 ns/pixel
  • Maximum Dwell Time: 25 ms/pixel
  • Complex milling patterns through Bitmap import
  • GDSII file format support
  • Feature sizes down to 20-30 nm (sample dependent)
  • EasyLift EX NanoManipulator
  • Multichem gas delivery system (capable of depositing Pt, W, C, insulator, or of producing enhanced milling of C or insulator)
  • Oxford Instruments 80 mm2 X-Max SDD EDX detector optimized for detection from Be to Cf
  • Integrated plasma cleaner
  • Sample stages for standard stubs, mounts, TEM grids and others
  • Maximum sample size: 110mm diameter
  • Maximum sample thickness: 61mm incl. sample holder
  • Stage tilt range -15 to +90

Further Information