Atom probe trajectory mapping using experimental tip shape measurements

Daniel Haley, Timothy Petersen, Simon Ringer, G D W Smith

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45 Citations (Scopus)


Atom probe tomography is an accurate analytical and imaging technique which can reconstruct the complex structure and composition of a specimen in three dimensions. Despite providing locally high spatial resolution, atom probe tomography suffers from global distortions due to a complex projection function between the specimen and detector which is different for each experiment and can change during a single run. To aid characterization of this projection function, this work demonstrates a method for the reverse projection of ions from an arbitrary projection surface in 3D space back to an atom probe tomography specimen surface. Experimental data from transmission electron microscopy tilt tomography are combined with point cloud surface reconstruction algorithms and finite element modelling to generate a mapping back to the original tip surface in a physically and experimentally motivated manner. As a case study, aluminium tips are imaged using transmission electron microscopy before and after atom probe tomography, and the specimen profiles used as input in surface reconstruction methods. This reconstruction method is a general procedure that can be used to generate mappings between a selected surface and a known tip shape using numerical solutions to the electrostatic equation, with quantitative solutions to the projection problem readily achievable in tens of minutes on a contemporary workstation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170 - 180
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Microscopy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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