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A UT Dallas graduate student has been recognized for developing a new technique for preparing samples to be analyzed using transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
TEM is a key tool in analyzing semiconductor materials, including their electronic properties and any defects that might occur when using a new material or manufacturing technique. So a novel process for sample preparation developed by graduate student Carlo Floresca promises to further streamline semiconductor development.
Dubbed the FIB fold-out method, the technique not only requires fewer tools such as nano-manipulators during sample preparation but also enables researchers to perform their analysis on multiple samples at once.
"Sample preparation is a tedious, hours-long process, so any improvements are important in enabling us to speed up our analysis," said Floresca, one of 10 students to receive one of the Microbeam Analysis Society's 2008 Distinguished Scholar Awards. The awards are presented annually to students presenting technical papers at the organization's annual meeting.
Floresca developed the technique out of necessity: He had a deadline to create a sample, but the nanomanipulator he would usually use to prepare the sample was not expected to be available.
"So I devised this method to bypass the need for the nano-manipulator," he said, "and in the process I found a way to speed up sample preparation."
Floresca is working on his Ph.D. in the field of nanostructure fabrication and nanoelectronics characterization. His adviser, Moon Kim, a professor of materials science and engineering, noted that the new technique is already gaining popularity and that he's been invited to discuss it at a meeting of North American researchers next month.
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