Fabrication of a Cr thin-film AEM characterization standard

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The need for an analytical electron microscope (AEM) characterization standard capable of determining the consistency and relative quality of analytical performance has become increasingly evident as advances in the instrumentation are made. In this paper the fabrication of a Cr thin-film AEM standard by conventional thermal evaporation techniques is described. A 100-nm-thick Cr film on a 20-nm C-support film provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) served as a model against which the present film was evaluated. Improvements over the NIST film in terms of diffraction pattern clarity and simplification of parallel electron energy-loss spectrometry (PEELS) analysis were achieved by removal of the C-support film and the creation of a self-supported Cr (SS-Cr) film. Qualitative grain-size comparisons between the NIST model and the SS-Cr films made by scanning transmission electron microscopy found the SS-Cr films to have a slightly larger grain size. Thickness measurements were verified by X-ray energy dispersive spectrometry, PEELS and field-emission gun scanning electron microscopy. SS-Cr film standard specimens are available for use by the AEM community, by contacting the authors directly.

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