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NUANCE: Nanoscale Characterization Experimental Center

New Research Published in Microscopy and Microanalysis

Xiaomi Zhang, VPD group doctoral student, NUANCE TEM facility manager Xiaobing Hu, Eric W. Roth and NUANCE Director Vinayak P. Dravid were all co-authors of the recently published article, "Ion Beam Induced Artifacts in Lead-Based Chalcogenides" in Microscopy and Microanalysis. The article examines the issues caused by surface damage on metal chalcogenides and proposes solutions to cleaning their surfaces to analyze their intrinsic structures properly.

From the paper's abstract: The SIA clusters appear as orthogonal nanoscale features when characterized along the <001> crystal orientation of the rock salt structured PbTe. This obfuscates the interpretation of the intrinsic microstructure of metal chalcogenides, especially lead chalcogenides. We demonstrate that with sufficiently low energy (300 eV) Ar ion cleaning or appropriate high-temperature annealing, the surface damage layer can be properly cleaned and the orthogonal nanoscale features are significantly reduced. This reveals the materials’ intrinsic structure and can be used as the standard protocol for future TEM specimen preparation of lead-based chalcogenide materials.

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Fig. 3. TEM images depicting the effects of low energy (300 ev) Ar ion milling to clean chalcogenide 


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Fig. 4. TEM images depicting the effects of in situ heating to clean chalcogenide surfaces