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Title: Fast Atomic-Scale Elemental Mapping of Crystalline Materials by STEM Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy Achieved with Thin Specimens [Fast Atomic-Scale Chemical Imaging of Crystalline Materials by STEM Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy Achieved with Thin Specimens].

Abstract

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, in 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.

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [2]
  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
  2. Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
1356226
Report Number(s):
SAND-2016-10599J
Journal ID: ISSN 1431-9276; applab; PII: S1431927617000113
Grant/Contract Number:
AC04-94AL85000
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Microscopy and Microanalysis
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 23; Journal Issue: 01; Journal ID: ISSN 1431-9276
Publisher:
Microscopy Society of America (MSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
47 OTHER INSTRUMENTATION

Citation Formats

Lu, Ping, Yuan, Renliang, and Zuo, Jian Min. Fast Atomic-Scale Elemental Mapping of Crystalline Materials by STEM Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy Achieved with Thin Specimens [Fast Atomic-Scale Chemical Imaging of Crystalline Materials by STEM Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy Achieved with Thin Specimens].. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1017/S1431927617000113.
Lu, Ping, Yuan, Renliang, & Zuo, Jian Min. Fast Atomic-Scale Elemental Mapping of Crystalline Materials by STEM Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy Achieved with Thin Specimens [Fast Atomic-Scale Chemical Imaging of Crystalline Materials by STEM Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy Achieved with Thin Specimens].. United States. doi:10.1017/S1431927617000113.
Lu, Ping, Yuan, Renliang, and Zuo, Jian Min. 2017. "Fast Atomic-Scale Elemental Mapping of Crystalline Materials by STEM Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy Achieved with Thin Specimens [Fast Atomic-Scale Chemical Imaging of Crystalline Materials by STEM Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy Achieved with Thin Specimens].". United States. doi:10.1017/S1431927617000113.
@article{osti_1356226,
title = {Fast Atomic-Scale Elemental Mapping of Crystalline Materials by STEM Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy Achieved with Thin Specimens [Fast Atomic-Scale Chemical Imaging of Crystalline Materials by STEM Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy Achieved with Thin Specimens].},
author = {Lu, Ping and Yuan, Renliang and Zuo, Jian Min},
abstractNote = {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 nm2with the acquisition time of ~2 s or less. Here we report the details of this method, and, in 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 SrTiO3in [001] projection for 200 keV electrons.},
doi = {10.1017/S1431927617000113},
journal = {Microscopy and Microanalysis},
number = 01,
volume = 23,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month = 2
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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  • The delocalization of x-ray signals limits the spatial resolution in atomic-scale elemental mapping by scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) using energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS). In this study, using a SrTiO 3 [001] single crystal, we show that the x-ray localization to atomic columns is strongly dependent on crystal thickness, and a thin crystal is critical for improving the spatial resolution in atomic-scale EDS mapping. A single-frame scanning technique is used in this study instead of the multiple-frame technique to avoid peak broadening due to tracking error. The strong thickness dependence is realized by measuring the full width at half maximamore » (FWHM) as well as the peak-to-valley (P/V) ratio of the EDS profiles for Ti K and Sr K+L, obtained at several crystal thicknesses. A FWHM of about 0.16 nm and a P/V ratio of greater than 7.0 are obtained for Ti K for a crystal thickness of less than 20 nm. In conclusion, with increasing crystal thickness, the FWHM and P/V ratio increases and decreases, respectively, indicating the advantage of using a thin crystal for high-resolution EDS mapping.« less
  • 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 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 not provided.
  • Determination of atomic-scale crystal structure for nanostructured intermetallic alloys, such as magnetic alloys containing Al, Ni, Co (alnico) and Fe, is crucial for understanding physical properties such as magnetism, but technically challenging due to the small interatomic distances and the similar atomic numbers. By applying energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) mapping to the study of two intermetallic phases of an alnico alloy resulting from spinodal decomposition, we have determined atomic-scale chemical composition at individual lattice sites for the two phases: one is the B2 phase with Fe0.76Co0.24 -Fe0.40Co0.60 ordering and the other is the L21 phase with Ni0.48Co0.52 at A-sites, Almore » at BΙ-sites and Fe0.20Ti0.80 at BΙΙ-sites, respectively. The technique developed through this study represents a powerful real-space approach to investigate structure chemically at the atomic scale for a wide range of materials systems.« less