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Title: Measurement Error in Atomic-Scale Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy—Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (STEM-EDS) Mapping of a Model Oxide Interface

Abstract

Abstract With the development of affordable aberration correctors, analytical scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) studies of complex interfaces can now be conducted at high spatial resolution at laboratories worldwide. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) in particular has grown in popularity, as it enables elemental mapping over a wide range of ionization energies. However, the interpretation of atomically resolved data is greatly complicated by beam–sample interactions that are often overlooked by novice users. Here we describe the practical factors—namely, sample thickness and the choice of ionization edge—that affect the quantification of a model perovskite oxide interface. Our measurements of the same sample, in regions of different thickness, indicate that interface profiles can vary by as much as 2–5 unit cells, depending on the spectral feature. This finding is supported by multislice simulations, which reveal that on-axis maps of even perfectly abrupt interfaces exhibit significant delocalization. Quantification of thicker samples is further complicated by channeling to heavier sites across the interface, as well as an increased signal background. We show that extreme care must be taken to prepare samples to minimize channeling effects and argue that it may not be possible to extract atomically resolved information from many chemical maps.

Authors:
ORCiD logo; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1355453
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-119131
Journal ID: ISSN 1431-9276; applab
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Microscopy and Microanalysis
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 23; Journal Issue: 03; Journal ID: ISSN 1431-9276
Publisher:
Microscopy Society of America (MSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE

Citation Formats

Spurgeon, Steven R., Du, Yingge, and Chambers, Scott A. Measurement Error in Atomic-Scale Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy—Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (STEM-EDS) Mapping of a Model Oxide Interface. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1017/S1431927617000368.
Spurgeon, Steven R., Du, Yingge, & Chambers, Scott A. Measurement Error in Atomic-Scale Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy—Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (STEM-EDS) Mapping of a Model Oxide Interface. United States. doi:10.1017/S1431927617000368.
Spurgeon, Steven R., Du, Yingge, and Chambers, Scott A. 2017. "Measurement Error in Atomic-Scale Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy—Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (STEM-EDS) Mapping of a Model Oxide Interface". United States. doi:10.1017/S1431927617000368.
@article{osti_1355453,
title = {Measurement Error in Atomic-Scale Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy—Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (STEM-EDS) Mapping of a Model Oxide Interface},
author = {Spurgeon, Steven R. and Du, Yingge and Chambers, Scott A.},
abstractNote = {Abstract With the development of affordable aberration correctors, analytical scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) studies of complex interfaces can now be conducted at high spatial resolution at laboratories worldwide. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) in particular has grown in popularity, as it enables elemental mapping over a wide range of ionization energies. However, the interpretation of atomically resolved data is greatly complicated by beam–sample interactions that are often overlooked by novice users. Here we describe the practical factors—namely, sample thickness and the choice of ionization edge—that affect the quantification of a model perovskite oxide interface. Our measurements of the same sample, in regions of different thickness, indicate that interface profiles can vary by as much as 2–5 unit cells, depending on the spectral feature. This finding is supported by multislice simulations, which reveal that on-axis maps of even perfectly abrupt interfaces exhibit significant delocalization. Quantification of thicker samples is further complicated by channeling to heavier sites across the interface, as well as an increased signal background. We show that extreme care must be taken to prepare samples to minimize channeling effects and argue that it may not be possible to extract atomically resolved information from many chemical maps.},
doi = {10.1017/S1431927617000368},
journal = {Microscopy and Microanalysis},
number = 03,
volume = 23,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month = 4
}

Journal Article:
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  • Abstract With the development of affordable aberration correctors, analytical scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) studies of complex interfaces can now be conducted at high spatial resolution at laboratories worldwide. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) in particular has grown in popularity, as it enables elemental mapping over a wide range of ionization energies. However, the interpretation of atomically resolved data is greatly complicated by beam–sample interactions that are often overlooked by novice users. Here we describe the practical factors—namely, sample thickness and the choice of ionization edge—that affect the quantification of a model perovskite oxide interface. Our measurements of the same sample,more » in regions of different thickness, indicate that interface profiles can vary by as much as 2–5 unit cells, depending on the spectral feature. This finding is supported by multislice simulations, which reveal that on-axis maps of even perfectly abrupt interfaces exhibit significant delocalization. Quantification of thicker samples is further complicated by channeling to heavier sites across the interface, as well as an increased signal background. We show that extreme care must be taken to prepare samples to minimize channeling effects and argue that it may not be possible to extract atomically resolved information from many chemical maps.« less
  • Abstract Elemental mapping at the atomic-scale by scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) using energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) provides a powerful real-space approach to chemical characterization of crystal structures. However, applications of this powerful technique have been limited by inefficient X-ray emission and collection, which require long acquisition times. Recently, using a lattice-vector translation method, we have shown that rapid atomic-scale elemental mapping using STEM-EDS can be achieved. This method provides atomic-scale elemental maps averaged over crystal areas of ~few 10 nm 2with the acquisition time of ~2 s or less. Here we report the details of this method, and, inmore » particular, investigate the experimental conditions necessary for achieving it. It shows, that in addition to usual conditions required for atomic-scale imaging, a thin specimen is essential for the technique to be successful. Phenomenological modeling shows that the localization of X-ray signals to atomic columns is a key reason. The effect of specimen thickness on the signal delocalization is studied by multislice image simulations. The results show that the X-ray localization can be achieved by choosing a thin specimen, and the thickness of less than about 22 nm is preferred for SrTiO 3in [001] projection for 200 keV electrons.« less
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  • Observation of growth, synthesis, dynamics and electrochemical reactions in the liquid state is an important yet largely unstudied aspect of nanotechnology. The only techniques that can potentially provide the insights necessary to advance our understanding of these mechanisms is simultaneous atomic-scale imaging and quantitative chemical analysis (through spectroscopy) under environmental conditions in the transmission electron microscope (TEM). In this study we describe the experimental and technical conditions necessary to obtain electron energy loss (EEL) spectra from a nanoparticle in colloidal suspension using aberration corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) combined with the environmental liquid stage. At a fluid path lengthmore » below 400 nm, atomic resolution images can be obtained and simultaneous compositional analysis can be achieved. We show that EEL spectroscopy can be used to quantify the total fluid path length around the nanoparticle, and demonstrate characteristic core-loss signals from the suspended nanoparticles can be resolved and analyzed to provide information on the local interfacial chemistry with the surrounding environment. The combined approach using aberration corrected STEM and EEL spectra with the in situ fluid stage demonstrates a plenary platform for detailed investigations of solution based catalysis and biological research.« less