APT has a good eye for detail

Atom probe tomography (APT) provides morphology, size distribution composition and the volume fraction of embedded nanoparticles and precipitates . It resolves elemental segregation at phase and grain boundaries with high chemical sensitivity which cannot be resolved by any other technique.

Atom Probe tomography (APT) provides near atomic-scale 3D information with high (up to a few ppm) elemental sensitivity. These capabilities are highly valuable for the development of new materials. The macroscopic properties of the materials strongly depend on their chemical composition and microscopic structure. Therefore, the close to atomic scale information provided by APT helps to improve the manufacturing process and tune the macroscopic properties of materials.

OCAS has built up advanced know-how and methodology for applying APT in metal-related studies in recent years.

The 3D nature of APT combined with high chemical sensitivity makes the technique unique as other techniques such as transmission electron microscopy (TEM) or secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) are either inherently 1D/2D or do not have high chemical sensitivity. This makes the APT a superior technique for analysis of embedded nanoparticles, precipitates, segregation of low concentration solutes at grain and phase boundaries and sharpness of different interfaces.

APT allows to fundamentally investigate the link between the atomic distribution in a sample and scientific phenomena.

Grain boundaries

In APT individual atoms are displayed as spheres. By magnifying solute atoms (Mo, P and C), segregation at the grain boundary is highlighted.

Click images to enlarge

OCAS has structurally reserved access to the Flemish Atom Probe user facility, an initiative of the KU Leuven, University Hasselt, University Ghent and OCAS, sponsored by the Hercules foundation. This initiative aims to stimulate nanoscale materials research within the Flemish research landscape by facilitating access to this new technology.

“APT bridges the macroscopic and microscopic worlds providing a unique 3D atomic scale information, opening new exciting opportunities for materials’ science and engineering.”

Davit Melkonyan, Research Engineer Materials Characterisation & Testing Department, OCAS