Keywords: instrumentation, atom probe tomography, nanoanalyses, nanomaterials, microelectronics, severe plastic deformation, ODS steels, atomic resolution analysis, nanostructurs, thin films, nanotechnology
Atomic resolution analyses of nano-structured materials by atom probe tomography
The three dimensional atom probe (3DAP) is a well established and widely used nanoanalysis tool in materials science (mainly metallic materials). Due to its ability to map out in 3D the distribution of atoms in the real space on a nearly atomic scale, it has been extensively applied for the investigation of a large variety of materials, allowing a better understanding of physical phenomena involved in material science. In 2004, the development of a femtosecond laser pulsed atom probe allowed for the first time, the possibility to investigate semiconductor materials at the atomic scale. In this paper the capability of the technique to characterise nano-structured materials is shown through three examples. The first part tackles the case of thin film reactions around silicides developed for application as contacts in microelectronic devices. The two other examples deal with the stability of nanostructured materials. On one hand the observation of the nanostructuration of a material following a 'top down' approach using severe plastic deformation is shown and on the other hand the stability of a nanostructured material (like an ODS steels) under irradiation condition is studied. In all cases 3DAP is the unique tool that unambiguously characterises these nanostructured materials.