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Introduction to Atom Probe Tomography with Highlights in Geoscience Applications


Spring 2022

Responsable de l'activité

Benita Putlitz


Michelle Foley, UNIL

Dr. Elias Bloch, UNIL

Dr. Benita Putlitz (UNIL)


Dr. Stephan Gerstl, ETHZ

Prof. Steven Reddy, Curtain University, Perth, Australia

Dr. Elias Bloch, UNIL


Atom Probe Tomography (APT) is unique in its ability to provide three-dimensional chemical and isotopic information at near-atomic scales. Over the last decade, an increasing variety of mineral phases and multi-phase samples have been analyzed by APT, which has provided an unparalleled insight into the atomic scale chemical structure of geological materials. Although many the Earth's accessible minerals are silicates, much of the early use of atom probe samples for geomaterials is in the application to non-silicate phases such as oxides, sulphides, sulphates and metals. This short course will provide an introduction to Atom Probe Tomography, with highlights in the field of geology, and the large potential for expanding the use of APT in new fields of Earth science. The course will be presented primarily by Stephan Gerstl as a series of lectures, in addition to live demos of the laboratory at ETH (Zurich) and data visualization. Additional lectures will be presented by Steven Reddy of Curtain University (Perth, Australia), which houses the only geological-focused APT in the world, and by Elias Bloch on APT in diffusion studies. Depending on COVID restrictions during the timing of the course, potential modification to the course would include a change of location to Lausanne (UNIL-Geopolis) and a switch to virtual demos. A. Lectures (may be split/subdivided w/ colleague from Curtain U.) • intro to physics of method, size scales being characterized, and corresponding necessary sample geometry • weaknesses & strengths of APT • correlation to other methods (TEM, STEM, EBSD, SIMS) • sample prep methods (briefly on e-polishing [awareness], focus on FIB • data collection, parameter space, resulting data format • reconstruction (intro) • localized nature of data (both weakness & strengths) • isotopic localization • ppm sensitivity B. Preparation demo (FIB-SEM) [this could be extra to fill time, if necessary; focus is/should be on APT] • demo tip making (with nanofeatures) • substrate options: FTMs, wires or half-grids (for correlation) • Optionally sharpening whilst imaging in STEM (to show direct correlation ~end-pointing; something I'm currently re-enabling…) C. APT demo • voltage-mode on a Fe-meteorite ROI • laser-mode on (pre-aligned) zircon / mineral ROI • observed ion/isotope arrival • discuss relationships between data collection parameters D. Data demo (IVAS) (limited step-by-step reconstruction, unless wanted) • types of data visualization • types of data analysis methods • students could be given goal(s) to answer ('targeted play' w/ data) re. data E. Panel Discussion ('round-table'), open to questions/discussion (this would be easier w/ involvement from Perth…) • subdivision of topics • Q&A • Listing of case studies/specific examples Participants Organization Rotation type scheme for the 'live demo in the laboratory' day (to spread out the people, not overcrowd the labs), such as: • FIB & APT (hardware, sample prep, data collection) [indeed the primary lab tour] • Data display & analysis (optional reconstruction) [in a nearby computer lab, I could organize temp. IVAS licenses for this to work] • Tour of other characterization facilities, perhaps that correlate well with APT (TEM, SIMs [mention…], EBSD)







Deadline for registration 01.03.2022
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