Focused Ion Beam

Rutgers was the first site on the continent to receive a ThermoFisher Aquilos 2 cryoFIB/SEM. This gallium focused ion beam instrument is designed specifically for operations with cells in amorphous ice. The Aquilos 2 includes in-chamber Magnetron sputter-coater, organoplatinum gas injection system, two in-chamber and two in-column detectors, and endless 360°+ rotation. The EasyLift nanomanipulator is designed for lift-out operations. Both parallel on-grid lamella milling and serial-section imaging are facilitated with automation software. The most common use of this instrument is cutting <200nm-thick lamellae to prepare cell interior for cryo-electron tomography in the Talos Arctica cryoTEM.


The Aquilos can be used at room temperature or cryogenic temperatures. Materials science samples are accepted as well as biological samples. Note that the cryostage is integrated and cannot be removed, although it can be run at room temperature. Also, to maintain the highest cleanliness of the chamber, facility policy is that all specimens be inserted and removed through the airlock, even during room-temperature operation. Overnight cryogenic runs are practical. For applications where use of the ion beam is not required, we recommend the cryoSEM. Use of the cryoFIB/SEM is priced by the hour, with daily charges capped at 8 hours for long runs.