NALUX NANO OPTICAL, INC.
65 E.State Street, Suit2000
Columbus, Ohio 43215
c/o Schneider Downs
"Lighting a path to the future with nano-optics."
Focused ion beam (FIB) processing is one of the many fabrication methods that Nalux has at it's disposal. The process is a method of using a stream of ions to analyze, ablate, or deposit a material on the surface of another material. Focused ion beam processing equipment is similar to a scanning electron microscope (SEM) except the SEM uses electrons while the FIB uses ions. When the ions strike the surface they are aimed at, they sputter atoms off of the surface. Usually, gallium is used as the ion source so when the gallium focused ion beam makes contact with the surface of the material that it is impacting the gallium ions become embedded in the surface.
Because of it's ability to sputter away a surface atom by atom, focused ion beam processing is a very useful tool for making micro optics which need nanometer control over their shape. Focused ion beam processing provides that very tight control and also allows the surface properties of the material being processed to be modified by embedding gallium ions into the surface. Focused ion beam processing not only allows the creation of micro optics themselves, it also allows Nalux to make molds with micro structures that can then be used in the plastic injection molding process to make millions of plastic micro optics.
Like anything else, focused ion beam processing has it's strengths and it's limitations. One of the biggest limitations of focused ion beam processing is that it is slow, it takes a long time to ablate material away from a surface because you are doing it atom by atom. Since this is the case, large area optics take a long time to fabricate using focused ion beam processing. This leads to the process being used more in the creation of plastic injection molds for high production runs than in production runs for making the optics themselves. It may take a long time to make the mold using focused ion beam processing, but the process allows very accurate creation of the shapes required into the steel mold and then that steel mold can make millions of plastic molded optics very inexpensively.
So, give us a call when your project calls for the accuracy and quality of focused ion beam processing and Nalux will be here with the solutions you need.