A high-throughput approach for cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy sample preparation of thin films
Cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy (XTEM) is a very useful technique to study the interfacial diffusion and reactions and the grain growth of thin films. However, the preparation of XTEM samples of thin films is tedious and challenging. Difficulties may include the delamination of films from the substrate, fracture of brittle substrates and differential milling rates of the substrate and the film. This paper describes an improved technique using a combination of tripod polishing and focused ion beam milling to prepare XTEM samples of thin films. The technique can be widely used for high-throughput production of samples having varying film and substrate properties. Two different geometries are introduced. The first one is suitable for XTEM sample preparation of most films at a high yield rate, but with a limited view area. The other geometry is able to give a larger view area and is more suitable for thicker films. The technique is illustrated by an example of the sample preparation of Fe/Pt multilayer films on SiO2/Si substrates.
Journal of Electron Microscopy
"A high-throughput approach for cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy sample preparation of thin films" (2008). Faculty Bibliography 2000s. 1176.