Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 March 2020
The quantitative analysis performance of carbon and nitrogen was investigated using stoichiometric θ-Fe3C (25 at% C) and γ′-Fe4N (~20 at% N) precipitates in pulsed voltage and pulsed laser atom probes. The dependencies of specimen temperature, pulse fraction, and laser pulse energy on the apparent concentrations of carbon and nitrogen were measured. Good coincidence with 25 at% carbon concentration in θ-Fe3C was obtained for the pulsed voltage atom probe by considering the mean number of carbon atoms per ion at 24 Da and the detection loss of iron, while better coincidence was obtained for the pulsed laser atom probe by considering only the mean number of carbon at 24 Da. On the other hand, a lack of nitrogen concentration in γ′-Fe4N was observed for the two atom probes. In particular, the pulsed laser atom probe showed a significant lack of nitrogen concentration. This implies that a large amount of 14N2+ was obscured by the main iron peak of 56Fe2+ at 28 Da in the mass-to-charge spectrum. Regarding preferential evaporation or retention, carbon in θ-Fe3C exhibited little of either, but nitrogen in γ′-Fe4N exhibited definite preferential retention. This result can be explained by the large difference in ionization energy between carbon and nitrogen.