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Comparison of atom probe compositional fidelity across thin film interfaces



Andrew Herzing, Justin G. Brons, Karen T. Henry, Ian M. Anderson, Gregory B. Thompson


A series of Fe/Ni and Ti/Nb multilayers with bilayer repeat distances of approximately 4 nm have been sputter-deposited onto n-doped Si [001] substrates. The films were focus ion beam milled into the required needle-shaped geometry for atom probe analysis with the bilayer chemical modulations oriented either in parallel or perpendicular to the evaporation direction. This was done to compare field evaporation behavior at these limiting geometries. Local magnification artifacts in the atom probe reconstructions were observed, especially in the case where the bilayer chemical modulations were parallel to the evaporation field. The observed layer thickness deviated significantly from the actual experimental layer thickness. The fidelities of these atom probe reconstructions were determined by comparing them to electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) compositional profiles. The reconstructions were improved by developing optimization procedures for the k-factor, image compression factor, and density smoothing parameters; however, even after such improvements, the fidelity achieved never matched that of the EELS profiles.
Thin Solid Films


atom probe , tomography , STEM , EELS , thin-film , nanocharacterization


Herzing, A. , Brons, J. , Henry, K. , Anderson, I. and Thompson, G. (2014), Comparison of atom probe compositional fidelity across thin film interfaces, Thin Solid Films, [online], (Accessed May 22, 2024)


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Created January 1, 2014, Updated October 28, 2022