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Atom probe tomography (APT)

Atom probe tomography is an analytical method which has high spatial resolution with atomic level and high detection sensitivity. This technique provides beneficial information about nanometer-scaled structures in samples. Analyses of elemental distribution at a grainboundary in a metal sample and compositional profiles of thin multilayers in semiconductor are typical instances.

Principle

When high voltage about a few kV is applied to a needle-shaped specimen with a tip diameter of less than 100nm, atoms are electric-field-evaporated from a tip of the specimen one by one. Then, the position-sensitive detector identifies ion species by measuring time of flight. 3D images with atomic-level resolution were reconstructed from raw data on the special software.

Principle of the 3D Atom Probe (3DAP)

The basic principle of APT

Features

Information of elemental distribution and their 3D structure with sensitivity same as SIMS and high spatial resolution TEM are obtained by this technology.

It is possible to extract arbitrary space from the obtained 3D data, then analyze it according to the customer's demand.

 

Characteristics of APT, SIMS and TEM

APT
SIMS
TEM
3D image
Good
Limited
Limited
Spatial resolution
x, y
0.5nm
1μm~
0.2nm
z
0.2nm
0.3nm
0.2nm
Detection Sensitivity
100ppm~
1ppb~
1000ppm~
Detection Limit atoms/cm3
5×1018
5×1013
5×1019

APT: Atom Probe Tomography
SIMS: Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry
TEM: Transmission Electron Microscope

Examples

  • Precipitated trace copper in stainless steel
  • Composition analysis at the grain boundary in a permanent magnet (NdFeB, SmCo etc.,)
  • Composition analysis in a solar cell
  • Thin film composition analysis of a magnetic head for hard disc
  • Composition distribution of indium in the MQW of GaN LED
  • 3D distribution of dopant in the diffusion layer of CMOS device
  • Concentration profile in metal gate high-k film
  • Composition analysis for one particle of fluorescent material
  Atomic Distribution in the Grain Boundary of NdFeB  Magnet

Element distibution at the grain boundary in NdFeB magnet

Related information

Analysis of a compound semiconductor using a 3D atom probe
Atomic level analysis by atom probe tomography
Analysis of low interface resistance of the NiSi/Si junction using a 3D atom probe

[Last updated: April 13, 2018]

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