Microscopy and Microanalysis

Materials Specimen Preparation

Fast and Simple Specimen Preparation for TEM Studies of Oxide Films Deposited on Silicon Wafers

Valentin S. Teodorescua1 c1 and Marie-Genevieve Blanchina2

a1 National Institute of Material Physics, 105 bis Atomistilor Street, P.O. Box Mg-7, R-077125, Bucharest-Măgurele, Romania

a2 Université Lyon 1, Laboratoire PMCN, CNRS UMR 5586, 69622 Villeurbane Cedex, France


We present a fast and simple method to prepare specimens for transmission electron microscopy studies of oxide thin films deposited on silicon substrates. The method consists of scratching the film surface using a pointed diamond tip, in a special manner. Small and thin fragments are then detached from the film and its substrate. Depending on the scratching direction, the fragments can be used for plan-view or cross-section imaging. High-resolution images can be also obtained from thin edges of the film fragments. The method is demonstrated in the case of HfO2 sol-gel films deposited on [100] Si wafer substrates.

(Received May 22 2008)

(Accepted July 29 2008)


c1 Corresponding author. E-mail: teoval@infim.ro