Design for an aberration corrected scanning electron microscope using miniature electron mirrors

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    Resolution of scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) is determined by aberrations of the objective lens. It is well known that both spherical and chromatic aberrations can be compensated by placing a 90-degree bending magnet and an electron mirror in the beam path before the objective lens. Nevertheless, this approach has not led to wide use of these aberration correctors, partly because aberrations of the bending magnet can be a serious problem. A mirror corrector with two mirrors placed perpendicularly to the optic axis of an SEM and facing each other is proposed. As a result, only small-angle magnetic deflection is necessary to guide the electron beam around the top mirror to the bottom mirror and around the bottom mirror to the objective lens. The deflection angle, in the order of 50 mrad, is sufficiently small to avoid deflection aberrations. In addition, lateral dispersion at the sample plane can be avoided by making the deflection fields symmetric. Such a corrector system is only possible if the incoming beam can pass the top mirror at a distance in the order of millimeters, without being disturbed by the electric fields of electrodes of the mirror. It is proposed that condition can be satisfied with micro-scale electron optical elements fabricated by using MEMS technology. In the proposed corrector system, the micro-mirrors have to provide the exact negative spherical and chromatic aberrations for correcting the aberration of the objective lens. This exact tuning is accomplished by variable magnification between the micro-mirrors and the objective lens using an additional transfer lens. Extensive optical calculations are reported. Aberrations of the micro-mirrors were analyzed by numerical calculation. Dispersion and aberrations of the deflectors were calculated by using an analytical field model. Combination aberrations caused by the off-axis position of dispersive rays in the mirrors and objective lens were also analyzed. It is concluded that the proposed corrector system will be a promising candidate for simple and low-cost aberration correction in low-voltage SEMs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-23
    Number of pages23
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


    • Aberration corrector
    • Electron mirror
    • MEMS electron optics
    • Scanning electron microscope

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