Atom Probe (AP)

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Atom probe (AP) is a technique used to determine the nature of single atoms by evaporating them one at a time from the surface of a sharp tip cooled down to ≈ 60 K, and by performing a time-of-flight mass analysis of these atoms as they hit a detector. Laser pulsing is now possible as an alternative to voltage pulsing to induce field evaporation of atoms, thus making it possible to analyse non-metallic materials, including oxides and other ceramics, semiconductors, and even biominerals.

ICAM equipment includes:

  • A LEAP 5000XS atom probe at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This recently commissioned piece of equipment is capable of analysing metallic and non-metallic materials, with a detection efficiency of 80% and typical spatial resolution of ≈ 1-3 Å.