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Applicability of post-ionization theory to laser-assisted field evaporation of magnetite



Ann C. Chiaramonti Debay, D. K. Schreiber, Lyle M. Gordon, Karen Kruska


Analysis of the mean Fe ion charge state from laser-assisted field evaporation of magnetite (Fe3O4) reveals unexpected trends as a function of laser pulse energy that break from conventional post-ionization theory for metals. For Fe ions evaporated from magnetite, the effects of post-ionization are partially offset by the increased prevalence of direct evaporation into higher charge states with increasing laser pulse energy. Therefore the final charge state is related to both the field strength and the laser pulse energy, despite those variables themselves being intertwined when analyzing at a constant detection rate. Comparison of data collected at different base temperatures also show that the increased prevalence of Fe2+ at higher laser energies is possibly not a direct thermal effect. Conversely, the ratio of 16O+:16O2+ is well-correlated with field strength and unaffected by laser pulse energy on its own, making it a better overall indicator of the field evaporation conditions than the mean Fe charge state. Plotting the normalized field strength versus laser pulse energy also elucidates a non-linear dependence, in agreement with previous observations on semiconductors, that suggests a field-dependent laser absorption efficiency. Together these observations demonstrate that the field evaporation process for laser-pulsed oxides exhibits fundamental differences from metallic specimens that cannot be completely explained by post-ionization theory. Further theoretical studies, combined with detailed analytical observations, are required to understand fully the field evaporation process of non-metallic samples.
Applied Physics Letters


atom probe tomography, field evaporation, ionization theory, charge state ratio


Chiaramonti, A. , Schreiber, D. , Gordon, L. and Kruska, K. (2014), Applicability of post-ionization theory to laser-assisted field evaporation of magnetite, Applied Physics Letters, [online], (Accessed April 25, 2024)
Created December 18, 2014, Updated February 19, 2017