TEM Characterization of Thin-Layered Materials

Jerzy Morgiel 

Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Metallurgy and Materials Sciences (IMIM PAN), Reymonta 25, Kraków 30-059, Poland


The progress in physical vapor deposition techniques opens possibilities to produce more and more complicated multilayer coatings of greatly improved properties. The detail microstructure control of such coating is very important especially as a malfunction or lower than expected properties result. Due to fine features of such systems frequently practically only transmission electron microscopy (TEM) guarantees the required high spatial resolution. This resolution is however realized only on very thin foils which are both a problem to prepare but also to handle.
The present overview summaries the existing sample preparation techniques including argon ion milling and gallium ion cutting (so called Focused Ion Beam technique). The last technique is realized through two mine ways, i.e. “H bar technique” and “in-situ welding”. The effect of sample preparation on results of TEM investigations including both microstructure and analytical results will be discussed. It shows that even very good high resolution electron microscopy (HREM) images of multilayer TiN/Ti multilayer coatings might be recorded working with properly prepared FIB samples. However, the analytical investigations realized using energy dispersive systems (EDS) are very liable to errors caused by artifacts in case when “H bar” specimens are used practically excluding quantitative measurements. The more reliable in such situations are simple maps which however supply less precise qualitative description of material.


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Presentation: Oral at E-MRS Fall Meeting 2006, Thin-layered materials workshop, by Jerzy Morgiel
See On-line Journal of E-MRS Fall Meeting 2006

Submitted: 2006-08-04 17:49
Revised:   2009-06-07 00:44