Microtip arrays, also called microtip coupons, are routinely used in atom probe tomography (APT) as specimen carriers. They are commercially available consumables, usually made of Si with high electrical conductivity, produced via dedicated shaping techniques. Their purpose is to act as a specimen mount after focused ion beam (FIB) based lift-out procedures. Within this work, an alternative approach to prefabricated microtip coupons is presented, by directly creating a microtip array on the sample to be investigated utilizing fs-laser processing. An exemplary array of microtip posts was fs-laser processed from a TiN coating on Si substrate and subjected to final preparation via annular FIB milling. Subsequently, APT specimen of the TiN coating as well as of the Si substrate were successfully measured in laser assisted mode, using a commercial local electrode APT system. To further emphasize the versatility of the proposed approach, additional voltage measurements of highly conductive B doped Si arrays as well as exemplarily fs-laser processed microtip arrays of various other materials are provided as supplementary material to this article. The presented methodology bypasses the lift-out and avoids the necessity of a Pt weld between specimens and coupon posts which is frequently considered to represent a weak spot. It reduces consumables consumption and provides a high number of specimens in short time, while it is applicable for a wide range of materials and has thus the potential to revolutionize APT specimen preparation.
Bibliographische NotizFunding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support under the scope of the COMET program within the K2 Center “Integrated Computational Material, Process and Product Engineering (IC-MPPE)” (Project No 859480 ). This program is supported by the Austrian Federal Ministries for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) and for Digital and Economic Affairs (BMDW), represented by the Austrian research funding association (FFG), and the federal states of Styria, Upper Austria and Tyrol.