Fischione 1010

E.A. Fischione’s Model 1010®Ion Mill® is a state-of-the-art compact, tabletop precision ion milling / polishing system that consistently produces high quality TEM specimens with large electron transparent areas. Unlike electro-polishing, ion milling is equally effective for materials having low (semiconductors and insulators) or high (metals and semimetals) electrical conductivity. It uses an impinging incident HAD (Hollow Anode Discharge) ion to sputter ions from the surface of a sample. The sputtering can be only due to momentum transfer between the incident ion and the sample surface (in case of inert gases like Ar or Ar+) or enhanced by chemical reaction (in case of reactive gases).


The 1010®Ion Mill® is fully programmable with two independently adjustable HAD ion sources having a 0-30º milling angle, which permit either rapid milling or more gradual material polishing. Under an automatic gas control the specimen can be rocked or rotated with an optional liquid nitrogen cooled stage and optional automatic termination. The choice of single or dual ion source operation allows milling from either one or both sides of the specimen. The HAD ion sources operate over user selectable ranges of extractor voltage (0.5kV to 6.0 kV) and current (3mA to 8mA), and are capable of producing ion beam currents up to 400 mamps. Typically varying voltage changes the average ion energy while varying current alters the ion flux. With increase in either of them the milling rate would increase.

The summary of specifications of 1010®Ion Mill® is listed below:

Ion Source Type

Hollow Anode Design

Ion source settings range

Voltage: 0.5 – 6 kV, Current: 3-8 mA

Specimen motion

Full rotation (360º) or oscillation (0-+/- 179º)

Milling rate

Varies with material

Gas requirements

Argon equal to or greater than 99.998% and supplied at a pressure of 10psi (69 Mpa)

Microscope capability

200-2000X monocular microscope fitted with a CCD camera and color monitor

Turbo-molecular vacuum pump

70 lps (min). With no gas flow, ultimate chamber vacuum is 1 X 10-6 torr. Under normal milling conditions, the system vacuum is between 1 X 10-4 and 2 X 10-5 torr.

The basic procedure of sample preparation and ion milling are:

  1. Mechanically section (cleave, saw) the sample
  2. Ultrasonically cut discs (3mm dia by < 500mm thick)
  3. Rough grind (3mm dia by < 70mm thick)
  4. Dimple grind (3mm dia by 10mm thick)
  5. Ion mill the top and bottom surfaces until they are electron transparent (3mm dia by <100nm thick)
  6. Plasma clean.

Sputtering of specimen due to Ion Milling

Hollow Anode Discharge (HAD) Ion Source