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We present a specimen preparation procedure for atom-probe tomography using SemGlu from Kleindiek Nanotechnik, an adhesive that hardens under electron beam irradiation. The SemGlu adhesive is used in place of focused-ion-beam-induced deposition of organo-metallic Pt, W, or C to form a bond between the sample and the substrate during the specimen preparation procedure. We demonstrate the utility of this adhesive-based specimen preparation technique with a correlated atom-probe tomography-scanning transmission electron microscopy study of the iron-nickel alloy kamacite (ferrite, ɑ-iron) in the Bristol iron meteorite and two steel specimens.
This article reviews recent advances utilizing field-ion microscopy (FIM) to extract atomic-scale three-dimensional images of materials. This capability is not new, as the first atomic-scale reconstructions of features utilizing FIM were demonstrated decades ago. The rise of atom probe tomography, and the application of this latter technique in place of FIM has unfortunately severely limited further FIM development. Currently, the ubiquitous availability of extensive computing power makes it possible to treat and reconstruct FIM data digitally and this development allows the image sequences obtained utilizing FIM to be extremely valuable for many material science and engineering applications. This article demonstrates different applications of these capabilities, focusing on its use in physical metallurgy and semiconductor science and technology.
This article focuses on four topics that demonstrate the importance of atom probe tomography for obtaining nanostructural information that provides deep insights into the structures of metallic alloys, leading to a better understanding of their properties. First, we discuss the microstructure–coercivity relationship of Nd-Fe-B permanent magnets, essential for developing a higher coercivity magnet. Second, we address equilibrium segregation at grain boundaries with the aim of manipulating their interfacial structure, energies, compositions, and properties, thereby enabling beneficial material behavior. Third, recent progress in the search to extend the performance and practicality of the next generation of advanced high-strength steels is discussed. Finally, a study of the temporal evolution of a Ni-Al-Cr alloy through the stages of nucleation, growth, and coarsening (Ostwald ripening) and its relationship with the predictions of a model for quasi-stationary coarsening is described. This information is critical for understanding high-temperature mechanical properties of the material.
The contribution of change over time in parent and child characteristics to parents’ resolution of child's diagnosis was examined among 78 mothers and fathers of children with autism spectrum disorder. Children's characteristics (e.g., mental age and severity of symptoms), parental characteristics (e.g., attachment-related anxiety and stress level), and parents’ resolution of their child's diagnosis (resolved vs. unresolved) were examined at Time 1, and reassessed 3 years later at Time 2. Results indicated a deferential contribution of change in parent and child characteristics among mothers and fathers. An increase in child symptom severity and in maternal attachment-related anxiety, as well as longer durations of time since receiving the diagnosis, significantly predicted maternal resolved status at Time 2. Conversely, none of the changes in children's or paternal characteristics predicted paternal resolved status at Time 2. Results are discussed in relation to child and parental contributions to resolution, the differences in the adjustment and well-being of mothers and fathers of children with autism spectrum disorder, parental growth following receiving the diagnosis, and the need for intervention components specific to parental resolution and attachment-related anxiety.
The preparation of transmission electron microcopy (TEM) samples from powders with particle sizes larger than ~100 nm poses a challenge. The existing methods are complicated and expensive, or have a low probability of success. Herein, we report a modified methodology for preparation of TEM samples from powders, which is efficient, cost-effective, and easy to perform. This method involves mixing powders with an epoxy on a piece of weighing paper, curing the powder–epoxy mixture to form a bulk material, grinding the bulk to obtain a thin foil, punching TEM discs from the foil, dimpling the discs, and ion milling the dimpled discs to electron transparency. Compared with the well established and robust grinding–dimpling–ion-milling method for TEM sample preparation for bulk materials, our modified approach for preparing TEM samples from powders only requires two additional simple steps. In this article, step-by-step procedures for our methodology are described in detail, and important strategies to ensure success are elucidated. Our methodology has been applied successfully for preparing TEM samples with large thin areas and high quality for many different mechanically milled metallic powders.
Atomic-scale characterization of hydrogen and formation of niobium hydrides, using ultraviolet (wavelength=355 nm) picosecond laser-assisted local-electrode atom-probe tomography, was performed for ultrahigh purity niobium utilizing different laser pulse energies, 10 or 50 pJ/pulse or voltage pulsing. At 50 pJ/pulse, hydrogen atoms migrate onto the 110 and 111 poles as a result of stimulated surface diffusion, whereas they are immobile for <10 pJ/pulse or for voltage pulsing. Accordingly, the highest concentrations of H and NbH were obtained at 50 pJ/pulse. This is attributed to the thermal energy of the laser pulses being transferred to pure niobium specimens. Therefore, we examined the effects of the laser pulse energy being increased systematically from 1 to 20 pJ/pulse and then decreasing it from 20 to 1 pJ/pulse. The concentrations of H, H2, and NbH and the atomic concentration ratios H2/H, NbH/Nb, and Nb3+/Nb2+ were calculated with respect to the systematically changing laser pulse energies. The atomic concentration ratios H2/H and NbH/Nb are greater when decreasing the laser pulse energy than when increasing it, because the higher residual thermal energy after decreasing the laser pulse energy increases the mobility of H atoms by supplying sufficient thermal energy to form H2 or NbH.
This study investigates the effects of the charge-state ratio of evaporated ions on the accuracy of local-electrode atom-probe (LEAP) tomographic compositional and structural analyses, which employs a picosecond ultraviolet pulsed laser. Experimental results demonstrate that the charge-state ratio is a better indicator of the best atom-probe tomography (APT) experimental conditions compared with laser pulse energy. The thermal tails in the mass spectra decrease significantly, and the mass resolving power (m/Δm) increases by 87.5 and 185.7% at full-width half-maximum and full-width tenth-maximum, respectively, as the laser pulse energy is increased from 5 to 30 pJ/pulse. The measured composition of this alloy depends on the charge-state ratio of the evaporated ions, and the most accurate composition is obtained when Ni2+/Ni+ is in the range of 0.3–20. The γ(f.c.c.)/γ'(L12) interface is quantitatively more diffuse when determined from the measured concentration profiles for higher laser pulse energies. Conclusions of the APT compositional and structural analyses utilizing the same suitable charge-state ratio are more comparable than those collected with the same laser pulse energy.
The composition of co-precipitated and collocated NbC carbide precipitates, Fe3C iron carbide (cementite), and Cu-rich precipitates are studied experimentally by atom-probe tomography (APT). The Cu-rich precipitates located at a grain boundary (GB) are also studied. The APT results for the carbides are supplemented with computational thermodynamics predictions of composition at thermodynamic equilibrium. Two types of NbC carbide precipitates are distinguished based on their stoichiometric ratio and size. The Cu-rich precipitates at the periphery of the iron carbide and at the GB are larger than those distributed in the α-Fe (body-centered cubic) matrix, which is attributed to short-circuit diffusion of Cu along the GB. Manganese segregation is not observed at the heterophase interfaces of the Cu-rich precipitates that are located at the periphery of the iron carbide or at the GB, which is unlike those located at the edge of the NbC carbide precipitates or distributed in the α-Fe matrix. This suggests the presence of two populations of NiAl-type (B2 structure) phases at the heterophase interfaces in multicomponent Fe–Cu steels.
A sample preparation method is described for enabling direct correlation of site-specific plan-view and cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis of individual nanostructures by employing a dual-beam focused-ion beam (FIB) microscope. This technique is demonstrated using Si nanowires dispersed on a TEM sample support (lacey carbon or Si-nitride). Individual nanowires are first imaged in the plan-view orientation to identify a region of interest; in this case, impurity atoms distributed at crystalline defects that require further investigation in the cross-sectional orientation. Subsequently, the region of interest is capped with a series of ex situ and in situ deposited layers to protect the nanowire and facilitate site-specific lift-out and cross-sectioning using a dual-beam FIB microscope. The lift-out specimen is thinned to electron transparency with site-specific positioning to within ∼200 nm of a target position along the length of the nanowire. Using the described technique, it is possible to produce correlated plan-view and cross-sectional view lattice-resolved TEM images that enable a quasi-3D analysis of crystalline defect structures in a specific nanowire. While the current study is focused on nanowires, the procedure described herein is general for any electron-transparent sample and is broadly applicable for many nanostructures, such as nanowires, nanoparticles, patterned thin films, and devices.
Recent developments in the technology of laser-pulsed local-electrode atom-probe (LEAP) tomography include a picosecond ultraviolet (UV) laser system having a 355 nm wavelength and both external and in-vacuum optics. This approach ensures focusing of the laser beam to a smaller spot diameter than has heretofore been obtained using a green (532 nm wavelength) picosecond laser. We compare the mass spectra acquired, using either green or UV laser pulsing, from nickel-based superalloy specimens prepared either electrochemically or by lifting-out from bulk material using ion-beam milling in a dual-beam focused ion beam microscope. The utilization of picosecond UV laser pulsing yields improved mass spectra, which manifests itself in higher signal-to-noise ratios and mass-resolving power (m/Δm) in comparison to green laser pulsing. We employ LEAP tomography to investigate the formation of misoriented defects in nickel-based superalloys and demonstrate that UV laser pulsing yields better accuracy in compositional quantification than does green laser pulsing. Furthermore, we show that using a green laser the quality of mass spectra collected from specimens that were lifted-out by ion milling is usually poorer than for electrochemically-sharpened specimens. Employing UV laser pulsing yields, however, improved mass spectra in comparison to green laser pulsing even for ion-milled microtips.
The differences in artifacts associated with voltage-pulsed and laser-pulsed (wavelength = 532 or 355 nm) atom-probe tomographic (APT) analyses of nanoscale precipitation in a high-strength low-carbon steel are assessed using a local-electrode atom-probe tomograph. It is found that the interfacial width of nanoscale Cu precipitates increases with increasing specimen apex temperatures induced by higher laser pulse energies (0.6–2 nJ pulse−1 at a wavelength of 532 nm). This effect is probably due to surface diffusion of Cu atoms. Increasing the specimen apex temperature by using pulse energies up to 2 nJ pulse−1 at a wavelength of 532 nm is also found to increase the severity of the local magnification effect for nanoscale M2C metal carbide precipitates, which is indicated by a decrease of the local atomic density inside the carbides from 68 ± 6 nm−3 (voltage pulsing) to as small as 3.5 ± 0.8 nm−3. Methods are proposed to solve these problems based on comparisons with the results obtained from voltage-pulsed APT experiments. Essentially, application of the Cu precipitate compositions and local atomic density of M2C metal carbide precipitates measured by voltage-pulsed APT to 532 or 355 nm wavelength laser-pulsed data permits correct quantification of precipitation.