Atom probe tomography (APT) produces 3-D compositional images at the atomic
scale with very high analytical sensitivity (10 atomic parts per million). It does so by controllably extracting atom (ions) from a specimen with a very high electric field applied to the surface. The extracted ions are projected onto a position-sensitive detector for recording their location. Time-of-flight measurements on the ions provide their isotopic identity as a mass-to-charge ratio of the ion. Because the fundamental data format is the 3-D position (with a spatial resolution of 0.2 nm) and identity of atoms (isotopes, actually) in a volume containing potentially hundreds of millions of atoms, many types of analytical information may be gleaned.
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