Open-space nanomaterials are a widespread class of technologically important materials that are generally incompatible with analysis by atom probe tomography (APT) due to issues with specimen preparation, field evaporation and data reconstruction. The feasibility of encapsulating such non-compact matter in a matrix to enable APT measurements is investigated using nanoparticles as an example. Simulations of field evaporation of a void, and the resulting artifacts in ion trajectory, underpin the requirement that no voids remain after encapsulation. The approach is demonstrated by encapsulating Pt nanoparticles in an ZnO:Al matrix created by atomic layer deposition, a growth technique which offers very high surface coverage and conformality. APT measurements of the Pt nanoparticles are correlated with transmission electron microscopy images and numerical simulations in order to evaluate the accuracy of the APT reconstruction.
- Atom probe tomography
- Field evaporation