Ion photon emission microscopy

P. Rossi, B. L. Doyle, J. C. Banks, A. Battistella, G. Gennaro, F. D. McDaniel, M. Mellon, E. Vittone, G. Vizkelethy, N. D. Wing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new ion-induced emission microscopy has been invented and demonstrated, which is called ion photon emission microscopy (IPEM). It employs a low current, broad ion beam impinging on a sample, previously coated or simply covered with a few microns of a fast, highly efficient phosphor layer. The light produced at the single ion impact point is collected with an optical microscope and projected at high magnification onto a single photon position sensitive detector (PSD). This allows maps of the ion strike effects to be produced, effectively removing the need for a microbeam. Irradiation in air and even the use of alpha particle sources with no accelerator are possible. Potential applications include ion beam induced charge collection studies of semiconducting and insulating materials, single event upset studies on microchips and even biological cells in radiobiological effectiveness experiments. We describe the IPEM setup, including a 60 × OM-40 microscope with a 1.5 mm hole for the beam transmission and a Quantar PSD with 60 μm pixel. Bicron plastic scintillator blades of 10 μm were chosen as a phosphor for their nanosecond time resolution, homogeneity, utility and commercial availability. The results given in this paper are for a prototype IPEM system. They indicate a resolution of ∼12 μm, the presence of a spatial halo and a He-ion efficiency of ∼20%. This marks the first time that nuclear microscopy has been performed with a radioactive source.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-128
Number of pages6
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2003


  • Ion beam analysis
  • Ion photon emission microscopy
  • Nuclear emission microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Instrumentation
  • Surfaces and Interfaces


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