Atom probe tomography of nanoscale architectures in functional materials for electronic and photonic applications

Alexander S. Chang, Lincoln J. Lauhon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Microscopy has played a central role in the advancement of nanoscience and nanotechnology by enabling the direct visualization of nanoscale structure, leading to predictive models of novel physical behaviors. Electronic and photonic device technologies, whose features and performance are often improved through miniaturization, have particularly benefited from new capabilities in the characterization of material structure and composition. This paper reviews recent applications of atom probe tomography to semiconducting materials with nanoscale architectures that are designed to impart novel properties and device functionality by virtue of their shape and size. A review is necessary because rapid advances in atom probe instrumentation and analysis in the last decade have greatly expanded the utility of atom probe tomography to address scientific questions and technical questions in this area. The paper is organized in terms of the surface topologies of nanoscale architectures. We begin with nominally planar interfaces including thin film heterostructures and superlattices with open surfaces. Distinctive capabilities in the analysis of interfaces are introduced, as are challenges arising from measurement artifacts. We then discuss nanowires and nanowire heterostructures with surfaces that are closed along one dimension, for which atom probe tomography has provided unique and important understandings on the doping processes. Finally, we consider nanocrystals and quantum dots with completely closed surfaces. Along the way, current challenges and opportunities for atom probe tomography are highlighted, and the reader is directed to complementary reviews of more technical aspects of atom probe analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-187
Number of pages17
JournalCurrent Opinion in Solid State and Materials Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Atom probe tomography
  • Heterostructures
  • Nanomaterials
  • Nanowires
  • Quantum dots
  • Semiconductors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Atom probe tomography of nanoscale architectures in functional materials for electronic and photonic applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this