Contact details

  • Levke Kööp – Lab Manager
  • Thomas Stephan – Deputy Lab Manager
  • Andrew M. Davis – Principal Investigator

The Department of the Geophysical Sciences, Room 128

The University of Chicago

5734 S Ellis Avenue


The FIB-SEM facility in the Department of the Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago features a TESCAN LYRA3 field-emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM) with a focused ion beam (FIB).

Figure: The LYRA3 at the University of Chicago.


The SEM can operate at high vacuum for conducting samples or coated insulators and at low vacuum for insulating samples, and is equipped with the following detectors and other capabilities:

  • Everhart-Thornley secondary electron (SE) detector, for topographic imaging at high vacuum

  • Scintillator-type backscattered electron (BSE) detector, for compositional imaging at low and high vacuum

  • In-column SE detector for high resolution topographic imaging

  • In-column BSE detector for high resolution compositional imaging

  • Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) detector with bright-field and dark-field capability

  • Beam deceleration for high resolution imaging at low incident electron energy

  • Two Oxford Instruments X-Max-80 silicon drift x-detectors (SDD), for rapid chemical mapping and quantitative chemical analysis

  • An Oxford Instruments Wave 500 wavelength-dispersive spectrometer (WDS) for low-concentration chemical analyses

  • An Oxford Instruments NordlysMax2 electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) detector for determination of crystal structures and study of textures

SEM applications

  • High and low resolution imaging (cm- to nm-size)

  • Chemical analysis and chemical mapping

  • Structural analysis by EBSD or TKD (Transmission Kikuchi Diffraction)

Figure: Example of a BSE image and elemental maps obtained with the LYRA3 and Oxford instruments EDS detector at the University of Chicago (modified from Kööp et al., 2016).


The LYRA3 is equipped with a Cobra liquid metal ion gun that emits a focused beam of gallium ions. The current of the gallium beam can be varied between ~30 nA and <1 pA. It is currently used for milling, imaging, and controlled deposition of carbon and platinum. The latter is achieved using an Oxford Instruments OmniGIS II gas injection system. An Oxford Instruments OP-400 micromanipulator can be used to lift out small milled samples. The OmniGIS II is currently set up for carbon and platinum deposition, but can also be equipped for deposition of tungsten, and for enhanced milling with reactive gases (XeF2 for SiO2 and H2O for carbon).

FIB applications

  • TEM sample preparation

  • Tomography

  • Manipulation of small samples (controlled isolation or removal of material, controlled deposition of carbon and platinum)

  • Enhanced lateral resolution of EDS analyses using thinned specimens

Want to use the FIB-SEM?

We welcome users from within and outside of the university. Rates vary based on application and user level. We offer training, operator-assisted and independent use of the instrument. Contact us at for more details or to schedule a session.