BIB - Broad Ion Beam Milling

Broad Ar+ ion beam milling is an established method for preparing difficult samples for electron microscopy. The argon beam can be used either to produce a cross section of a sample with less artefacts for samples with different components (hard, soft, ductile, brittle) that often cause problems with traditional grinding and polishing techniques. Typical examples could be thin coatings, brittle oxide layers on top of ductile metals, porous particle coatings or paper products where distribution of polymer components want to be studied and therefore embedding into epoxy is impossible.

Alternatively the argon beam can be used to remove the top surface layer of a material, also known as Flat Milling, so that the top surface is free from smearing or mechanical distortion of the atomic structure. This is specially important for surface related techniques like EBSD (Electron BackScatter Diffraction).