Nanotomography

R. Magerle, Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 2749 (2000);

Abstract: Scanning probe microscopy (SPM) can be expanded to volume imaging. As an example, the core of a dislocation within the three-dimensional (3D) spatial microdomain structure of poly(styrene-block-butadiene-block-styrene) was imaged with ~ 10 nm resolution. The specimen was eroded step by step and its chemical composition in layers beneath the original surface was imaged with SPM. Similar to computed tomography, the 3D distribution of polystyrene and polybutadiene was reconstructed from a series of images. This approach might provide a simple means for real-space volume imaging with nanometer and even atomic resolution of various materials and physical properties.

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(c) 2000 by the American Physical Society. Permissions to reproduce the figures can be obtained from the author.

Fig. 1  Schematic illustration of the principle of volume reconstruction from a series of scanning probe microscopy images. In general the surfaces Sn on which the property P(Sn) is measured are curved.

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Fig. 2  Series of TappingModeTM SFM images from a thin SBS film. Topography [(a)-(g)] and the corresponding phase images [(h)-(n)] are shown. Between each pair of images a 7.50.2 nm (on average) thick layer has been removed from the sample by plasma etching. For (1), see text. Region (2) is displayed as 3D image in Fig. 3.

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Fig. 3  3D image of the isosurface enclosing the volume with normalized phase > 0.11 reconstructed from the series of phase and topography images shown in Fig. 2. This can be interpreted as PS cylinders within a 200 x 160 x 45 nm3 large portion of the SBS film. In the center a branching of a PS cylinder (1) into four other PS cylinders (2)-(5) is displayed which is the core of a dislocation line in the SBS microdomain structure of hexagonally ordered PS cylinders. For size comparison and illustration of the molecular structure of the material a SBS molecule bridging two PS domains is sketched.

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Color version of Fig. 3

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