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The composition of GaAs measured by laser-assisted atom probe tomography may be inaccurate depending on the experimental conditions. In this work, we assess the role of the DC field and the impinging laser energy on such compositional bias. The DC field is found to have a major influence, while the laser energy has a weaker one within the range of parameters explored. The atomic fraction of Ga may vary from 0.55 at low-field conditions to 0.35 at high field. These results have been interpreted in terms of preferential evaporation of Ga at high field. The deficit of As is most likely explained by the formation of neutral As complexes either by direct ejection from the tip surface or upon the dissociation of large clusters. The study of multiple detection events supports this interpretation.
Atom probe has been developed for investigating materials at the atomic scale and in three dimensions by using either high-voltage (HV) pulses or laser pulses to trigger the field evaporation of surface atoms. In this paper, we propose an atom probe setup with pulsed evaporation achieved by simultaneous application of both methods. This provides a simple way to improve mass resolution without degrading the intrinsic spatial resolution of the instrument. The basic principle of this setup is the combination of both modes, but with a precise control of the delay (at a femtosecond timescale) between voltage and laser pulses. A home-made voltage pulse generator and an air-to-vacuum transmission system are discussed. The shape of the HV pulse presented at the sample apex is experimentally measured. Optimizing the delay between the voltage and the laser pulse improves the mass spectrum quality.