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Three-Dimensional Atomically Resolved Analytical Imaging with a Field Ion Microscope

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 August 2021

Shyam Katnagallu
Affiliation:
Department of Metal Physics and Alloy Design, Max Planck Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH, Düsseldorf 40237, Germany
Felipe F. Morgado
Affiliation:
Department of Metal Physics and Alloy Design, Max Planck Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH, Düsseldorf 40237, Germany
Isabelle Mouton
Affiliation:
Department of Metal Physics and Alloy Design, Max Planck Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH, Düsseldorf 40237, Germany
Baptiste Gault
Affiliation:
Department of Metal Physics and Alloy Design, Max Planck Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH, Düsseldorf 40237, Germany Department of Materials, Royal School of Mines, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
Leigh T. Stephenson*
Affiliation:
Department of Metal Physics and Alloy Design, Max Planck Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH, Düsseldorf 40237, Germany
*
*Corresponding author: Leigh T. Stephenson, E-mail: l.stephenson@mpie.de

Abstract

Atom probe tomography (APT) helps elucidate the link between the nanoscale chemical variations and physical properties, but it has a limited structural resolution. Field ion microscopy (FIM), a predecessor technique to APT, is capable of attaining atomic resolution along certain sets of crystallographic planes albeit at the expense of elemental identification. We demonstrate how two commercially available atom probe instruments, one with a straight flight path and one fitted with a reflectron lens, can be used to acquire time-of-flight mass spectrometry data concomitant with a FIM experiment. We outline various experimental protocols making the use of temporal and spatial correlations to best discriminate field-evaporated signals from the large field-ionized background signal, demonstrating an unsophisticated yet efficient data mining strategy to provide this discrimination. We discuss the remaining experimental challenges that need to be addressed, notably concerned with accurate detection and identification of individual field-evaporated ions contained within the high field-ionized flux that contributes to a FIM image. Our hybrid experimental approach can, in principle, exhibit true atomic resolution with elemental discrimination capabilities, neither of which atom probe nor FIM can individually fully deliver—thereby making this new approach, here broadly termed analytical field ion microscopy (aFIM), unique.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Microscopy Society of America

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Footnotes

Current address: CEA Saclay Des/-Service de Recherches de Métallurgie Appliquée, Gif-sur-Yvette, France

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