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Understanding of Capping Effects on the Tip Shape Evolution and on the Atom Probe Data of Bulk LaAlO3 Using Transmission Electron Microscopy

  • Chang-Min Kwak (a1), Young-Tae Kim (a1), Chan-Gyung Park (a1) (a2) and Jae-Bok Seol (a2)


Two challenges exist in laser-assisted atom probe tomography (APT). First, a drastic decline in mass-resolving power is caused, not only by laser-induced thermal effects on the APT tips of bulk oxide materials, but also the associated asymmetric evaporation behavior; second, the field evaporation mechanisms of bulk oxide tips under laser illumination are still unclear due to the complex relations between laser pulse and oxide materials. In this study, both phenomena were investigated by depositing Ni- and Co-capping layers onto the bulk LaAlO3 tips, and using stepwise APT analysis with transmission electron microscopy (TEM) observation of the tip shapes. By employing the metallic capping, the heating at the surface of the oxide tips during APT analysis became more symmetrical, thereby enabling a high mass-resolving power in the mass spectrum. In addition, the stepwise microscopy technique visualized tip shape evolution during APT analysis, thereby accounting for evaporation sequences at the tip surface. The combination of “capping” and “stepwise APT with TEM,” is applicable to any nonconductors; it provides a direct observation of tip shape evolution, allows determination of the field evaporation strength of oxides, and facilitates understanding of the effects of ultrafast laser illumination on an oxide tip.


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