Laser-assisted field evaporation and three-dimensional atom-by-atom mapping of diamond isotopic homojunctions

Samik Mukherjee, Hideyuki Watanabe, Dieter Isheim, David N. Seidman, Oussama Moutanabbir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


It addition to its high evaporation field, diamond is also known for its limited photoabsorption, strong covalent bonding, and wide bandgap. These characteristics have been thought for long to also complicate the field evaporation of diamond and make its control hardly achievable on the atomistic-level. Herein, we demonstrate that the unique behavior of nanoscale diamond and its interaction with pulsed laser lead to a controlled field evaporation thus enabling three-dimensional atom-by-atom mapping of diamond 12C/13C homojunctions. We also show that one key element in this process is to operate the pulsed laser at high energy without letting the dc bias increase out of bounds for diamond nanotip to withstand. Herein, the role of the dc bias in evaporation of diamond is essentially to generate free charge carriers within the nanotip via impact ionization. The mobile free charges screen the internal electric field, eventually creating a hole rich surface where the pulsed laser is effectively absorbed leading to an increase in the nanotip surface temperature. The effect of this temperature on the uncertainty in the time-of-flight of an ion, the diffusion of atoms on the surface of the nanotip, is also discussed. In addition to paving the way toward a precise manipulation of isotopes in diamond-based nanoscale and quantum structures, this result also elucidates some of the basic properties of dielectric nanostructures under high electric field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1335-1344
Number of pages10
JournalNano letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 10 2016


  • Diamond
  • atom probe tomography
  • chemical vapor deposition
  • dielectric nanostructure
  • field evaporation
  • stable isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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