Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Atom probe tomography evaporation behavior of C-axis GaN nanowires: Crystallographic, stoichiometric, and detection efficiency aspects



Norman A. Sanford, David R. Diercks, Brian Gorman, R Kirchofer, Kristine A. Bertness, Matthew D. Brubaker


The field evaporation behavior of c-axis GaN nanowires was explored in two different laser-pulsed atom probe tomography (APT) instruments. Transmission electron microscopy imaging before and after atom probe tomography analysis was used to assist in reconstructing the data and assess the observed evaporation behavior. It was found that the ionic species exhibited preferential locations for evaporation related to the underlying crystal structure of the GaN and that the species which evaporated from these locations was dependent on the pulsed laser energy. Additionally, the overall stoichiometry measured by APT was significantly correlated with the energy of the laser pulses. At the lowest laser energies, the apparent composition was nitrogen-rich, while higher laser energies resulted in measurements of predominantly gallium compositions. The percent of ions detected (detection efficiency) for these specimens was found to be considerably below that shown for other materials, even for laser energies which produced the expected Ga:N ratio. The apparent stoichiometry variation and low detection efficiency appear to be a result of evaporation of Ga ions between laser pulses at the lowest laser energies and evaporation of neutral N2 species at higher laser energies. All of these behaviors are tied to the formation of nitrogen-nitrogen bonds on the tip surface, which occurred under all analysis conditions. Similar field evaporation behaviors are therefore expected for other materials where the anionic species readily form a strong diatomic bond.
Applied Physics


atom prob tomography, evaporation behavior, nanowires
Created November 13, 2013, Updated February 19, 2017