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Posted: June 1, 2010

Novel Technique for Characterization of Monolayer Segregation

(Nanowerk News) Scientists at the University of Nantes (France) have recently developed a novel technique to detect and quantify grain boundary segregations using wavelength dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (WDS). The instrument basis for the development of this new technique is the MERLIN® Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope from Carl Zeiss, equipped with an Oxford WDS spectrometer. The experiment was performed at the Laboratoire de Génie des Matériaux et Procédés Associés Polytech´ Nantes (LGMPA).
The main characteristic of the MERLIN FE-SEM enabling this novel technique is the high probe current of up to 300 nA. In the experiment it was even possible to operate the system at 400 nA. Only by applying such a high probe current can sufficient signal be excited. Due to the double condenser lens of the GEMINI® II column within the MERLIN, the beam diameter is minimized to the extreme, resulting in high spatial resolution of the WDS analysis.
Application background
Interfacial segregations can lead to a dramatic change of materials properties, e.g. loss in ductility of iron, nickel or copper alloys. Until now, the characterization of top surface layers is generally processed with Auger Electron Spectroscopy or Electron Probe Micro Analysis. Both techniques have several drawbacks, e.g. the need for ultra-high vacuum conditions or limitations in spatial resolution. These drawbacks are overcome by the technique developed at the LGMPA, Nantes.
Further information about the unique properties of MERLIN can be found at www.smt.zeiss.com/merlinpressrelease. This also contains a detailed application note about the novel technique for characterization of monolayer segregation.
Carl Zeiss
The Carl Zeiss Group is a leading group of companies operating worldwide in the optical and opto-electronic industries that generates revenues totaling around EUR 2.1 billion (2008/09). Carl Zeiss offers innovative solutions for the future-oriented markets of Medical and Research Solutions, Industrial Solutions and Lifestyle Products. The Carl Zeiss Group has approximately 13,000 employees worldwide, including more than 8,000 in Germany. The Carl Zeiss business groups hold leading positions in their markets. Carl Zeiss AG, Oberkochen, is fully owned by the Carl Zeiss Stiftung (Carl Zeiss Foundation).
Carl Zeiss SMT
Carl Zeiss SMT AG comprises the Semiconductor Technology Group of the Carl Zeiss Group. Carl Zeiss SMT is one of the leading manufacturers of lithography optics and light, electron and ion-optical inspection, analysis and measuring systems. The company offers a broad spectrum of application and service solutions for the fields of semiconductor technology, nanotechnology, materials research and life sciences. Carl Zeiss SMT AG is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. Other sites are located in Germany, the UK, France, the USA, Israel and Singapore. The company has a global workforce of over 2,500 people and generated revenues of just under EUR 400 million in fiscal year 2008/09. Carl Zeiss SMT AG is fully owned by Carl Zeiss AG, Oberkochen.
Source: Carl Zeiss
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