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|CAMECA “Cyro-Transfer” LEAP Atom Probe|
Scientists from ETH Zürich and Oxford University have succeeded in mapping volatile hydrogen atoms in metal using the first "cryo-transfer" local electrode atom probe (LEAP®).
The results of that milestone research project were published recently in Science (Direct observation of individual hydrogen atoms at trapping sites in a ferritic steel, Y.S. Chen et al. Science Vol. 355, pp 1196-1199 (17 Mar 2017), the peer-reviewed journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Hydrogen inclusions in metal can severely affect material properties, making the metal more brittle. To avoid failures in steel or other metals due to hydrogen embrittlement and cracks, scientists need to precisely locate the atoms of hydrogen.
Atom Probe Tomography (APT) has proven to be one of the best analytical techniques for identifying and determining the position of nearly every atom in three dimensions in almost any nanoscale material. Nevertheless, the 3-D mapping of hydrogen atoms has remained a challenge, even with improved APT instrumentation, because hydrogen atoms are so mobile.
Researchers at the University of Oxford, investigating the origins of hydrogen embrittlement, have teamed up with the materials research team at ETH Zürich, which has developed a unique cryogenic transfer protocol for its LEAP Atom Probe that allows researchers to immobilize the highly diffusive hydrogen in the microstructure before APT analysis.
Together, the researchers have succeeded in precisely identifying the mechanism by which a specific microstructure can trap individual hydrogen atoms within solid material using the ETH Zürich LEAP Atom Probe.
The ETH Zürich and Oxford University scientists are confident that their low-temperature APT protocol can be used for many other materials, including rubber or polymers, and even liquids!
About Atom Probe Tomography
Exclusively developed and manufactured by CAMECA®, atom probe microscopes are used by the most prestigious research and development laboratories around the world. Atom probe tomography (APT or 3D APT) is the only materials analysis technique that offers extensive capabilities for both 3-D imaging and chemical composition measurements at the atomic scale. The technique has contributed to a number of major advances in materials science since its development in the 1960s.
CAMECA’s Atom Probe Tomography product line comprises two families: the LEAP 5000 (Local Electrode Atom Probe) family, which provides the fastest, most sensitive 3-D imaging and analysis with nanoscale resolution across the widest range of applications (metals, oxides, ceramics, advanced energy storage materials, semiconductors and electronics, bio-minerals and geochemistry), and the newly launched EIKOS family, which offers accessibility to atom probe tomography with improved ease of use and a low cost of ownership for both general research and industrial applications.
CAMECA has more than 60 years of experience in the design, manufacture and servicing of scientific instruments for material micro- and nano-analysis. Since pioneering Electron Probe Microanalysis (EPMA) instrumentation in the 1950s and Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) in the 1960s, CAMECA has remained the undisputed world leader, while achieving numerous breakthrough innovations in such complementary techniques as Low-energy Electron-induced X-ray Emission Spectrometry (LEXES) and Atom Probe Tomography (APT).
With the acquisition and integration of Nu Instruments in 2016, CAMECA strengthened its product offering and technical capabilities in elemental and isotopic mass spectrometry with Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS), Glow Discharge Mass Spectrometry (GD-MS) and Thermal Ionisation Mass Spectrometry (TIMS).
Headquartered near Paris, CAMECA has additional production facilities in Madison WI, USA, and Wrexham, UK, as well as sales, service and support locations in Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and Taiwan. CAMECA is a business unit of the Materials Analysis Division of AMETEK, Inc., a leading global manufacturer of electronic instruments and electromechanical products.
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