A new approach to the interpretation of atom probe field-ion microscopy images

Abstract : The field distribution and the ion trajectories close to the tip surface are known to mainly control the contrast of field-ion microscopy and the resolution of the three-dimensional atom probe. The proper interpretation of images provided by these techniques requires the electric field and the ion trajectories to be determined accurately.A model has been developed in order to compute the ion trajectories close to a curved emitting surface modelled at the atomic scale. In this model, both the gradual change of the tip surface and the chemical nature of atoms were taken into account.Predictions and results given by this approach are shown to be in excellent agreement with experiments. The calculated electric field at the tip surface is consistent with field-ion microscopy contrasts. The preferential retention of surface atoms and the order of evaporation were correctly simulated. The ion trajectories were successfully described. In this way, the crucial problem of trajectory overlap and local magnification could be investigated. These simulations not only lead to a new understanding of the physical basis of image formation, but also have a predictive value. Copyright \textcopyright 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.
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F. Vurpillot, A. Bostel, D. Blavette. A new approach to the interpretation of atom probe field-ion microscopy images. Ultramicroscopy, 2001, 89 (1-3), pp.137--144. ⟨10.1016/S0304-3991(01)00097-3⟩. ⟨hal-01928921⟩

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