Nanopores in 10–30 nm thickness Si4N3 membranes were milled using Ga+ ions. Dose dependence of the hole diameter and shape was established and explained as resulting from the intensity distribution of the focused ion beam. The initial diameter of the milled pore is dependent on the full-width half-maximum of the axial portion of the beam, whereas shape variations with dose are related to characteristics of the beam periphery. Membrane milling can thereby yield information on the FIB system itself, since obfuscating re-deposition is effectively eliminated. Gradual closure of the nanopore can be realized through raster scan exposure to an electron beam. This simple method provides shape control of the milled nano-pores as well as of more complex patterns milled in membranes.

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