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  Si wafer substrates.
(Received May 22 2008)
(Accepted July 29 2008)