A versatile cryo-transfer system, connecting cryogenic focused ion beam sample preparation to atom probe microscopy
Atom probe tomography (APT) is a powerful technique to obtain 3D chemical and structural information, however the ‘standard’ atom probe experimental workflow involves transfer of specimens at ambient conditions. The ability to transfer air- or thermally-sensitive samples between instruments while maintaining environmental control is critical to prevent chemical or morphological changes prior to analysis for a variety of interesting sample materials. In this article, we describe a versatile transfer system that enables cryogenic- or room-temperature transfer of specimens in vacuum or atmospheric conditions between sample preparation stations, a focused ion beam system (Zeiss Crossbeam 540) and a widely used commercial atom probe system (CAMECA LEAP 4000X HR). As an example for the use of this transfer system, we present atom probe data of gallium- (Ga)-free grain boundaries in an aluminum (Al) alloy specimen prepared with a Ga-based FIB.