Laser-assisted atom probe tomography (APT) is a relatively new, powerful technique for sub-nanometric mineral and biomineral analysis. However, the laser-assisted APT analysis of highly anisotropic and chemically diverse minerals, such as phyllosilicates, may prove especially challenging due to the complex interaction between the crystal structure and the laser pulse upon applying a high electric field. Micas are a representative group of nonswelling clay minerals of relevance to a number of scientific and technological fields. In this study, a Mg-rich biotite was analyzed by APT to generate preliminary data on nonisotropic minerals and to investigate the effect of the crystallographic orientation on mica chemical composition and structure estimation. The difference in results obtained for specimens extracted from the (001) and (hk0) mica surfaces indicate the importance of both experimental parameters and the crystallography. Anisotropy of mica has a strong influence on the physicochemical properties of the mineral during field evaporation and the interpretation of APT data. The promising results obtained in the present study open the way to future innovative APT applications on mica and clay minerals and contribute to the general discussion on the challenges for the analysis of geomaterials by atom probe tomography.
Charge-State Field Evaporation Behavior in Cu(V) Nanocrystalline Alloys
Abstract Atom probe tomography (APT) of a nanocrystalline Cu–7 at.% V thin film annealed at 400°C for 1 h revealed chemical partitioning in the form of solute segregation. The vanadium precipitated along high angle grain boundaries and at triple junctions, determined by cross-correlative precession electron diffraction of the APT specimen. Upon field evaporation, the V 2+ /(V 1+ + VH 1+ ) ratio from the decomposed ions was ~3 within the matrix grains and ~16 within the vanadium precipitates. It was found that the VH 1+ complex was prevalent in the matrix, with its presence explained in terms of hydrogen's ability to assist in field evaporation. The change in the V 2+ /(V 1+ + VH 1+ ) charge-state ratio (CSR) was studied as a function of base temperature (25–90 K), laser pulse energy (50–200 pJ), and grain orientation. The strongest influence on changing the CSR was with the varied pulse laser, which made the CSR between the precipitates and the matrix equivalent at the higher laser pulse energies. However, at these conditions, the precipitates began to coarsen. The collective results of the CSRs are discussed in terms of field strengths related to the chemical coordination.
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- Microscopy and Microanalysis
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- 501 to 510
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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