Title: Seeing inside materials by aberration-corrected electron microscopy

Authors: S.J. Pennycook; K. Van Benthem; A.G. Marinopoulos; S-H. Oh; S.I. Molina; A.Y. Borisevich; W. Luo; S.T. Pantelides

Addresses: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Materials Science and Technology Division, PO Box 2008, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA. ' Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA. ' Department of Physics and Astronomy, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA. ' Korea Basic Science Institute, Daejeon, Republic of Korea. ' Departamento de Ciencia de los Materiales e I.M. y Q.I., Spain Universidad de Cadiz. ' Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Materials Science and Technology Division, PO Box 2008, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA. ' Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Materials Science and Technology Division, PO Box 2008, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA. ' Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Materials Science and Technology Division, PO Box 2008, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA

Abstract: The recent successful correction of lens aberrations in the electron microscope has improved resolution by more than a factor of two in just a few years, bringing many benefits for the study of materials. These benefits extend significantly beyond enhanced resolution alone. Aberration correction gives higher resolution by allowing the objective lens to have a wider aperture, which also results in a reduced depth of field. This effect can be used to only focus specific sections inside materials for the first time. In this contribution we describe recent results exploiting this capability. Additionally, we show how combining the microscopy data with first-principles theory gives new insights into materials properties. We cover two applications, both involving heavy atoms in a lighter host. The first shows how single Hf atoms can be mapped in three dimensions inside the 1 nm-wide SiO2 region of a high dielectric constant device structure, and how a link to macroscopic device properties results through theoretical calculations. The second example is from the field of nanoscience, where individual Au atoms are imaged inside Si nanowires grown by a vapour-liquid-solid mechanism. The majority of Au atoms are probably injected by the highly energetic electron beam. However, their observed sites and atomic configurations represent at least meta-stable configurations and match well to results from density functional calculations.

Keywords: scanning transmission electron microscopy; aberration correction; Z-contrast; semiconductor devices; silicon nanowires; point defects; lens aberrations; nanotechnology.

DOI: 10.1504/IJNT.2011.044438

International Journal of Nanotechnology, 2011 Vol.8 No.10/11/12, pp.935 - 947

Available online: 24 Dec 2011 *

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