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Journal of Nanotechnology
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 170415, 26 pages
Review Article

Direct-Write Ion Beam Lithography

1Independent, Richardson, TX 75081, USA
2Raith GmbH, Konrad-Adenauer-Allee 8, Phoenix West, 44263 Dortmund, Germany

Received 23 July 2013; Revised 22 October 2013; Accepted 27 October 2013; Published 10 February 2014

Academic Editor: Paresh Chandra Ray

Copyright © 2014 Alexandra Joshi-Imre and Sven Bauerdick. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Patterning with a focused ion beam (FIB) is an extremely versatile fabrication process that can be used to create microscale and nanoscale designs on the surface of practically any solid sample material. Based on the type of ion-sample interaction utilized, FIB-based manufacturing can be both subtractive and additive, even in the same processing step. Indeed, the capability of easily creating three-dimensional patterns and shaping objects by milling and deposition is probably the most recognized feature of ion beam lithography (IBL) and micromachining. However, there exist several other techniques, such as ion implantation- and ion damage-based patterning and surface functionalization types of processes that have emerged as valuable additions to the nanofabrication toolkit and that are less widely known. While fabrication throughput, in general, is arguably low due to the serial nature of the direct-writing process, speed is not necessarily a problem in these IBL applications that work with small ion doses. Here we provide a comprehensive review of ion beam lithography in general and a practical guide to the individual IBL techniques developed to date. Special attention is given to applications in nanofabrication.