There are generally two different ways to collect a stack of 2-D scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images of focused ion beam (FIB) milled surfaces for subsequent 3D modeling of volumes using a dual platform FIB/SEM instrument: in static or dynamic mode. In dynamic SEM imaging of FIB milled surfaces, SEM images are acquired in real time during the FIB milling process. In static image acquisition mode, the FIB is used to slice away material and then either paused or stopped so that a slow scan high resolution SEM image may be acquired.

This paper compares the two methods and explains why static, high resolution, slow-scan SEM imaging after the FIB milling process is paused or stopped to completion is the better approach.