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A direct comparison between electron transparent transmission electron microscope (TEM) samples prepared with gallium (Ga) and xenon (Xe) focused ion beams (FIBs) is performed to determine if equivalent quality samples can be prepared with both ion species. We prepared samples using Ga FIB and Xe plasma focused ion beam (PFIB) while altering a variety of different deposition and milling parameters. The samples’ final thicknesses were evaluated using STEM-EELS t/λ data. Using the Ga FIB sample as a standard, we compared the Xe PFIB samples to the standard and to each other. We show that although the Xe PFIB sample preparation technique is quite different from the Ga FIB technique, it is possible to produce high-quality, large area TEM samples with Xe PFIB. We also describe best practices for a Xe PFIB TEM sample preparation workflow to enable consistent success for any thoughtful FIB operator. For Xe PFIB, we show that a decision must be made between the ultimate sample thickness and the size of the electron transparent region.
Low-Z nanocrystalline diamond (NCD) grids have been developed to reduce spurious fluorescence and avoid X-ray peak overlaps or interferences between the specimen and conventional metal grids. The low-Z NCD grids are non-toxic and safe to handle, conductive, can be subjected to high-temperature heating experiments, and may be used for analytical work in lieu of metal grids. Both a half-grid geometry, which can be used for any lift-out method, or a full-grid geometry that can be used for ex situ lift-out or thin film analyses, can be fabricated and used for experiments.
Multiple experimental configurations for performing nanoscale orientation mapping are compared to determine their fidelity to the true microstructure of a sample. Transmission Kikuchi diffraction (TKD) experiments in a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and nanobeam diffraction (NBD) experiments in a transmission electron microscope (TEM) were performed on thin electrodeposited hard Au films with two different microstructures. The Au samples either had a grain size that is >50 or <20 nm. The same regions of the samples were measured with TKD apparatuses at 30 kV in an SEM with detectors in the horizontal and vertical configurations and in the TEM at 300 kV. Under the proper conditions, we demonstrate that all three configurations can produce data of equivalent quality. Each method has strengths and challenges associated with its application and representation of the true microstructure. The conditions needed to obtain high-quality data for each acquisition method and the challenges associated with each are discussed.
There has been some confusion in the published literature concerning the structure of Metastudtite (UO2)O2(H2O)2 where differing unit cells and space groups have been cited for this compound. Owing to the absence of a refined structure for Metastudtite, Weck et al. (2012) have documented a first-principles study of Metastudtite using density functional theory (DFT). Their model presents the structure of Metastudtite as an orthorhombic (space group Pnma) structure with lattice parameters of a = 8.45, b = 8.72, and c = 6.75 Å. A Powder Diffraction File (PDF) database entry has been allocated for this hypothetical Metastudtite phase based on the DFT modeling (see 01-081-9033) and aforementioned Dalton Trans. manuscript. We have obtained phase pure powder X-ray diffraction data for Metastudtite and have confirmed the model of Weck et al. via Rietveld refinement (see Figure 1). Structural refinement of this powder diffraction dataset has yielded updated refined parameters. The new cell has been determined as a = 8.411(1), b = 8.744(1), and c = 6.505(1) Å; cell volume = 478.39 Å3. There are only subtle differences between the refined structure and that of the first-principles model derived from DFT. Notably, the b-axis is significantly contracted in the final refinement as compared with DFT. There were also subtle changes to the U1, O1, and O3 atom positions. Tabulated powder diffraction data (d's and I's) for the Metastudtite have been derived from the refined model and these new values can serve to augment the PDF entry 01-081-9033 with a more updated entry based on observed X-ray powder diffraction data.