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Barriers to Quantitative Electron Probe X-Ray Microanalysis for Low Voltage Scanning Electron Microscopy

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      Low voltage x-ray microanalysis, defined as being performed with an incident beam energy ≤5 keV, can achieve spatial resolution, laterally and in depth, of 100 nm or less, depending on the exact selection of beam energy and the composition of the target. The shallow depth of beam penetration, with the consequent short path length for x-ray absorption, and the low overvoltage, the ratio of beam energy to the critical ionization energy, both contribute to minimizing the matrix effects in quantitative x-ray microanalysis when the unknown is compared to pure element standards. The low beam energy restricts the energy of the atomic shells that can be excited, forcing the analyst to choose unfamiliar shells/characteristic peaks. The low photon energy shells are subject to low fluorescence yield, so that the peak-to-continuum background is reduced, severely limiting detectability. The limited resolution of semiconductor energy dispersive spectrometry results in frequent peak interference situations and further exacerbates detection limits. Future improvements to the x-ray spectrometry limitations are possible with x-ray optics-augmented wavelength dispersive spectrometry and microcalorimeter energy dispersive spectrometry.

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      Most cited references 14

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      Towards automated diffraction tomography: part I--data acquisition.

       U. Kolb,  T Gorelik,  C Kübel (2007)
      The ultimate aim of electron diffraction data collection for structure analysis is to sample the reciprocal space as accurately as possible to obtain a high-quality data set for crystal structure determination. Besides a more precise lattice parameter determination, fine sampling is expected to deliver superior data on reflection intensities, which is crucial for subsequent structure analysis. Traditionally, three-dimensional (3D) diffraction data are collected by manually tilting a crystal around a selected crystallographic axis and recording a set of diffraction patterns (a tilt series) at various crystallographic zones. In a second step, diffraction data from these zones are combined into a 3D data set and analyzed to yield the desired structure information. Data collection can also be performed automatically, with the recent advances in tomography acquisition providing a suitable basis. An experimental software module has been developed for the Tecnai microscope for such an automated diffraction pattern collection while tilting around the goniometer axis. The module combines STEM imaging with diffraction pattern acquisition in nanodiffraction mode. It allows automated recording of diffraction tilt series from nanoparticles with a size down to 5nm.
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        "Ab initio" structure solution from electron diffraction data obtained by a combination of automated diffraction tomography and precession technique.

        Using a combination of our recently developed automated diffraction tomography (ADT) module with precession electron technique (PED), quasi-kinematical 3D diffraction data sets of an inorganic salt (BaSO(4)) were collected. The lattice cell parameters and their orientation within the data sets were found automatically. The extracted intensities were used for "ab initio" structure analysis by direct methods. The data set covered almost the complete set of possible symmetrically equivalent reflections for an orthorhombic structure. The structure solution in one step delivered all heavy (Ba, S) as well as light atoms (O). Results of the structure solution using direct methods, charge flipping and maximum entropy algorithms as well as structure refinement for three different 3D electron diffraction data sets were presented.
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          Direct electron crystallographic determination of zeolite zonal structures.

          The prospect for improving the success of ab initio zeolite structure investigations with electron diffraction data is evaluated. First of all, the quality of intensities obtained by precession electron diffraction at small hollow cone illumination angles is evaluated for seven representative materials: ITQ-1, ITQ-7, ITQ-29, ZSM-5, ZSM-10, mordenite, and MCM-68. It is clear that, for most examples, an appreciable fraction of a secondary scattering perturbation is removed by precession at small angles. In one case, ZSM-10, it can also be argued that precession diffraction produces a dramatically improved 'kinematical' data set. There seems to no real support for application of a Lorentz correction to these data and there is no reason to expect for any of these samples that a two-beam dynamical scattering relationship between structure factor amplitude and observed intensity should be valid. Removal of secondary scattering by the precession mode appears to facilitate ab initio structure analysis. Most zeolite structures investigated could be solved by maximum entropy and likelihood phasing via error-correcting codes when precession data were used. Examples include the projected structure of mordenite that could not be determined from selected area data alone. One anomaly is the case of ZSM-5, where the best structure determination in projection is made from selected area diffraction data. In a control study, the zonal structure of SSZ-48 could be determined from selected area diffraction data by either maximum entropy and likelihood or traditional direct methods. While the maximum entropy and likelihood approach enjoys some advantages over traditional direct methods (non-dependence on predicted phase invariant sums), some effort must be made to improve the figures of merit used to identify potential structure solutions.

            Author and article information

            National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8371
            J Res Natl Inst Stand Technol
            J Res Natl Inst Stand Technol
            Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
            [Gaithersburg, MD] : U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology
            01 December 2002
            : 107
            : 6
            : 605-619

            The Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology is a publication of the U.S. Government. The papers are in the public domain and are not subject to copyright in the United States. Articles from J Res may contain photographs or illustrations copyrighted by other commercial organizations or individuals that may not be used without obtaining prior approval from the holder of the copyright.

            Funded by: National Institute of Standards and Technology
            Award ID: 9999-NIST


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