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Microsc Microanal. 2000 Sep;6(5):437-444.

Analysis of Three-dimensional Atom-probe Data by the Proximity Histogram.

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University, 2225 N. Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208-3108


The three-dimensional (3D) atom-probe technique produces a reconstruction of the elemental chemical identities and three-dimensional positions of atoms field evaporated from a sharply pointed metal specimen, with a local radius of curvature of less than 50 nm. The number of atoms collected can be on the order of one million, representing an analysis volume of approximately 20 nm x 20 nm x 200 nm (80,000 nm(3)). This large amount of data allows for the identification of microstructural features in a sample, such as grain or heterophase boundaries, if the feature density is large enough. Correlation of the measured atomic positions with these identified features results in an atom-by-atom description of the chemical environment of crystallographic defects. This article outlines a data compilation technique for the generation of composition profiles in the vicinity of interfaces in a geometrically independent way. This approach is applied to quantitative determination of interfacial segregation of silver at a MgO/Cu(Ag) heterophase interface.


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