skip to main content

Title: Understanding Atom Probe Tomography of Oxide-Supported Metal Nanoparticles by Correlation with Atomic Resolution Electron Microscopy and Field Evaporation Simulation

Metal-dielectric composite materials, specifically metal nanoparticles supported on or embedded in metal oxides, are widely used in catalysis. The accurate optimization of such nanostructures warrants the need for detailed three-dimensional characterization. Atom probe tomography is uniquely capable of generating sub-nanometer structural and compositional data with part-per-million mass sensitivity, but there are reconstruction artifacts for composites containing materials with strongly differing fields of evaporation, as for oxide-supported metal nanoparticles. By correlating atom probe tomography with scanning transmission electron microscopy for Au nanoparticles embedded in an MgO support, deviations from an ideal topography during evaporation are demonstrated directly, and correlated with compositional errors in the reconstructed data. Finite element simulations of the field evaporation process confirm that protruding Au nanoparticles will evolve on the tip surface, and that evaporation field variations lead to an inaccurate assessment of the local composition, effectively lowering the spatial resolution of the final reconstructed dataset. Cross-correlating the experimental data with simulations results in a more detailed understanding of local evaporation aberrations during APT analysis of metal-oxide composites, paving the way towards a more accurate three-dimensional characterization of this technologically important class of materials.
; ; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 5(8):1361-1367
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory