(19)
(11)EP 2 881 971 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
04.01.2017 Bulletin 2017/01

(21)Application number: 14195297.8

(22)Date of filing:  28.11.2014
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
H01J 37/20(2006.01)
H01J 37/26(2006.01)
H01J 37/31(2006.01)
C23C 16/26(2006.01)
H01J 37/22(2006.01)

(54)

Method of producing a freestanding thin film of nano-crystalline graphite

Verfahren zur Herstellung eines freistehenden Dünnfilms aus nanokristallinem Graphit

Procédé de production d'un film mince autonome de graphite nanocristallin


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 04.12.2013 EP 13195596

(43)Date of publication of application:
10.06.2015 Bulletin 2015/24

(73)Proprietors:
  • FEI COMPANY
    Hillsboro, Oregon 97124-5793 (US)
  • Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V.
    80539 München (DE)

(72)Inventors:
  • Buijsse, Bart
    5646 JE Eindhoven (NL)
  • Danev, Radostin
    81375 München (DE)
  • Sader, Kasim
    6865 ER Doorwerth (NL)

(74)Representative: Bakker, Hendrik 
FEI Company Patent Department P.O. Box 1745
5602 BS Eindhoven
5602 BS Eindhoven (NL)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 2 626 885
US-A1- 2012 261 588
US-A1- 2011 200 787
US-A1- 2013 277 573
  
  • Graphene Labs: "Graphene Transmission Electron Microscopy Support Films", , 23 December 2011 (2011-12-23), XP055115586, Retrieved from the Internet: URL:http://www.graphene-supermarket.com/im ages/XC/TEM/GrapheneTEMgrids-General%20inf o.pdf [retrieved on 2014-04-28]
  • RADOSAV S PANTELIC ET AL: "The application of graphene as a sample support in transmission electron microscopy", SOLID STATE COMMUNICATIONS, PERGAMON, GB, vol. 152, no. 15, 12 April 2012 (2012-04-12), pages 1375-1382, XP028402276, ISSN: 0038-1098, DOI: 10.1016/J.SSC.2012.04.038 [retrieved on 2012-04-20]
  • MIN QIAN ET AL: "Formation of freestanding two-dimensional carbon nanosheets from poly(phenylcarbyne) through pulsed laser ablation", CARBON, ELSEVIER, OXFORD, GB, vol. 49, no. 15, 24 June 2011 (2011-06-24) , pages 5117-5123, XP028390293, ISSN: 0008-6223, DOI: 10.1016/J.CARBON.2011.06.096 [retrieved on 2011-07-23]
  • LEE J K ET AL: "Synthesis and characterization of freestanding diamond/carbon nanoflake hybrid films", DIAMOND AND RELATED MATERIALS, ELSEVIER SCIENCE PUBLISHERS, AMSTERDAM, NL, vol. 17, no. 7-10, 1 July 2008 (2008-07-01), pages 1216-1220, XP023785129, ISSN: 0925-9635, DOI: 10.1016/J.DIAMOND.2008.01.002 [retrieved on 2008-01-09]
  
Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


Description


[0001] The invention relates to a method of producing a freestanding thin film of nano-crystalline graphite.

[0002] Freestanding thin films of amorphous carbon are used in, for example, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) as material in a Zernike phase plate, as described in "Phase Contrast Enhancement with Phase Plates in Biological Electron Microscopy", K. Nagayama et al., Microscopy Today, Vol. 18 No. 4 (July 2010), pp. 10-13, further referred to as Nagayama [-1-]

[0003] In a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) a sample is imaged by passing a beam of energetic electrons with a selectable energy of, for example, between 40 keV and 400 keV, through the sample. For so-called weak-phase samples, such as biological samples, most electrons pass through the sample unhindered (unscattered) while some electrons are elastically or inelastically scattered, the elastically scattered electrons forming diffracted beams. The image is formed by interference of the elastically scattered and unscattered electrons (diffracted and undiffracted beams).

[0004] A problem arises in that the Contrast Transfer Function (CTF) for low spatial frequencies in the image is zero or close to zero, resulting in low visibility of large objects/structures. This is caused by the fact that a camera or fluorescent screen in the image plane is sensitive to intensity variations, but not to phase variations of the impinging electron beam.

[0005] A solution to this is the use of a phase plate in the diffraction plane (or a plane conjugate to it): the phase plate introduces a phase difference between the diffracted beams and the undiffracted beam. There are several types of phase plates, of which the Zernike phase plate is of particular interest for the invention. In a Zernike phase plate the phase of the undiffracted beam is left unchanged, and the phase of the diffracted beams is changed by passing these beams through a thin film of, for example, amorphous carbon. The thin film is preferably a homogeneous film. A crystal in the diffraction plane would cause Bragg reflections of the electron beam in discrete directions, resulting in a final image consisting of multiple overlapping images of the sample. Moreover, different crystal domains of micrometer size induce a different phase shift to the passing electrons, complicating or obstructing the image formation. Therefore an amorphous film is used, where no or very little crystals are present.

[0006] The introduction of the phase difference by the phase plate changes the sine-like behavior of the CTF to a cosine-like behavior, and thus a maximum contrast for low spatial frequencies. For a more thorough description of phase plates and other contrast enhancing devices see the earlier mentioned publication of K. Nagayama [-1-].

[0007] A disadvantage of the freestanding thin films of amorphous carbon is the change in the bulk or surface electronic structure of the film when irradiated by electrons. This is described in more detail in patent application EP13165356, and is here referred to as the Volta effect. The result is that a part of the film that is irradiated shows so-called "footprints" (areas where the beam deposited a relative large dose of electrons), and when used as material for a phase plate the beam of electrons passing through a "footprinted" part of the film experiences a phase shift that differs from the beam passing through other parts of the film where no footprint is formed.

[0008] It is noted that footprints disappear in time, with a time constant in the order of hours to days. Therefore, although a Volta phase plate as described in EP13165356 can be used, it is not stable in time.

[0009] It is noted that freestanding thin films of amorphous carbon with a thickness of between 1 nm and 5 µm are commercially available from, for example, Arizona Carbon Foil Co., Inc, Tucson, Arizona, USA, and are described in http://www.emgrid.com.au/pdf/ACF-Metals-Products.pdf, created 14/08/2007, more specifically paragraph 1, most specifically paragraph 1.1, and sold via, for example, Agar Scientific, Stansted, Essex, CM24 8GF, United Kingdom (http://www.agarscientific.com/ultra-smooth-carbon-foils.html).

[0010] Graphene layers represent an other type of carbon thin film comprising substantially a single layer of carbon atoms in the form of a two-dimensional, atomic-scale, honey-comb lattice in which one atom forms each vertex. Graphene TEM grids are a known use of such layers (graphene-supermarket.com).

[0011] When using a thin film of crystalline carbon and to avoid phase variations due to crystals the crystal size should preferably be smaller than the imaged source size at the diffraction plane. For state-of-the-art TEMs this imaged source size at the diffraction plane can be as small as 30 nm.

[0012] There is thus a desire to form phase plates from a carbon film with very small crystals, the crystal size much less than 100 nm, so-called nano-crystalline graphite (NCG).

[0013] The invention intends to provide a method for producing a freestanding thin film of nano-crystalline graphite (NCG).

[0014] To that end the method of the invention is characterized in that the method comprises the steps of:
  • providing a freestanding thin film of amorphous carbon,
  • locally heating the freestanding thin film to a high temperature in an inert atmosphere or in a vacuum; and
  • allowing the freestanding film to cool down,
as a result of which a freestanding thin film of nano-crystalline graphite is formed.

[0015] Inventors are of the opinion that the freestanding film is of a graphitic nature, i.e. is a freestanding film of nano-crystalline graphite (NCG). These films could thus also be referred to as "heat treated films". However, should the film be of nano-crystalline carbon, in further reference where reference to NCG is made, equal reference is made to nano-crystalline carbon (NCC).

[0016] It is noted that no carbon is added to the thin film, nor that ablation occurs, and that the invention solely relies on a phase change of the thin film.

[0017] It is further noted that such a thin film is supported by a carrier, for example in the form of a TEM grid. The person skilled in the art will recognize that the parts where the carrier is supported are not heated, or to a much lesser degree. Therefore "locally heated" should in this context be interpreted as not including the part of the film supported by the carrier structure, and even a much smaller area may be heated, depending on the use of the thin film of NCG.

[0018] Preferably the heating is done using a laser.

[0019] Using a laser, such as an infrared laser, a visible light laser, with a power of, for example 10 - 100 mW, proved when focused to an extended spot (so working out of focus) an easy way to heat the foil.

[0020] The wave length of the laser, the power of the laser, the size of the irradiated area and the thickness of the thin film should preferably be such that the free-standing thin film absorbs between 0,1 MW/m2 and 20 MW/m2, more preferably between 0,75 MW/m2 and 12 MW/m2.

[0021] Experiments showed that under these conditions the temperature of the freestanding thin film cause the formation of NCG. However, too high a power density (above approximately 20 MW/m2) causes the carbon film to heat to a temperature where excessive evaporation occurs (approximately 3700 K), as a result of which holes are burned in the film in a few seconds or even less.

[0022] This implies that at a power density of approximately 20 MW/m2 a temperature of approximately 3700 K is reached, and -assuming PT4 -that 'normal' heating is between 1000 K (at 0,1 MW/m2) and 3700 K (at 20 MW/m2), more preferably between 1625 K (at 0,75 MW/m2) and 3250 K (at 12 MW/m2).

[0023] It is noted that the thin film is partly transparent as the film is so thin. The transparency also depends on the wavelength of the impinging (laser) light and therefore heating conditions are best expressed in an absorbed power instead of in a power impinging on the film.

[0024] The film is preferably heated for at least 1 second so that a fine control of the deposited energy in the foil can be achieved.

[0025] Preferably the thickness of the thin film is less than 1 µm, more specifically less than 250 nm, most specifically less than 50 nm.

[0026] For a phase plate the thickness of the film should ideally be 19,9 nm to cause a phase shift of λ/2 for 80 keV electrons, 27,6 nm to cause a phase shift of λ/2 for 200 keV electrons and 30,8 nm to cause a phase shift of λ/2 for 300 keV electrons. It is remarked that also thicknesses not too far removed from these ideal values give a marked improvement of the contract transfer for larger structures.

[0027] Thicker foils can be used, as a foil with for example a thickness three times thicker than mentioned causes a phase shift of 3· λ/2 and results in a CTF that in absolute value is identical. However, a thicker film also causes more scattering and thus loss of contrast.

[0028] When using the film for other purposes, for example as a carrier film in a sample carrier or as a gas-tight film in an environmental cell, the foil may have other preferred thicknesses, governed by, for example, the strength of the foil.

[0029] The freestanding thin film may be allowed to cool down in an environment of less than 500 K, more specifically at room temperature.

[0030] It is believed that to get NCG the foil should be quenched to a sufficiently low temperature. Experiments showed that allowing the foil to cool down in an environment at room temperature or even 500 K sufficed to reproducibly produce NCG foils.

[0031] Preferably the foil is allowed to cool to a temperature of below 1000 K in less than 1 ms, more specifically less than 0,25 ms.

[0032] It is likely that the time in which the thin film cools is of importance: rapid cooling will prohibit the growth of large crystal domains. Calculation show that the cooling down of a thin film is in the order of 0,1 ms for cooling from 2500K to 1250K, 0,2 ms for cooling down from 2500K to 1000K and 1,5 ms for cooling down from 2500K to 500K. This is assuming a film that is thick enough to be non-transparent to the thermal radiation. As this is not the case here these cooling times are expected to be "worst case" numbers.

[0033] The freestanding thin film may be supported by a TEM grid, more specifically a TEM grid comprising a metal or silicon.

[0034] Supporting the thin film with such a grid with an, in the electron microscope world, standardized size causes an easy interface with positioning rods etc.

[0035] The method may comprise the additional step of forming one or more holes in the film for passing a beam of undiffracted electrons, as a result of which a phase plate or a phase mask for a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) is formed.

[0036] Hereby a phase plate or phase mask is formed for use in a TEM, the hole or holes for passing the beams of undiffracted or diffracted electrons. The hole or holes can be formed by focused ion beam milling, or by focusing a laser beam on the film at such power density that a hole is burned, or by focusing an electron beam on the film in the presence of an etchant gas such as water vapour.

[0037] In an aspect of the invention a component for a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) is a component comprising or made of nano-crystalline graphite.

[0038] The component may be a component from the group of phase plates, phase masks, and sample carriers.

[0039] A component such as a phase plate, phase mask or a sample carrier (including TEM sample grids) formed from NCG may show better performance than a component of another material, as it combines the properties of carbon (for example low X-ray generation, low backscatter coefficient), without the drawbacks of microcrystalline graphite and without the drawbacks of amorphous carbon ("footprints"). The absence of footprints indicates the absence of local electric fields, and thus the absence of aberrations and deflections caused by these local electric fields.

[0040] It is remarked that phase masks are used, for example, to form a helical-shaped beam of electrons that could produce significantly higher-resolution images than is possible with conventional TEM, enabling the capture of images with increased signal-to-noise ratio of weak phase objects such as bacteria and proteins. More information about phase masks and helical-shaped beams of electrons ('vortex beams') is found in, for example, "Electron Vortex Beams with High Quanta of Orbital Angular Momentum", B. J. McMorran et al., Science 331, 192 (2011), pp. 192 - 195.

[0041] It is noted that the ability to form holes in nano-crystalline carbon leads to holes with little or no differences in contact potential around the border (the boundary) of the hole, leading to little or no deflection caused by said boundary.

[0042] A Transmission Electron Microscope may comprise a component comprising of or made from NCG.

[0043] The invention is now elucidated using figures, in which identical reference numerals refer to corresponding features.

[0044] To that end:
Figure 1
schematically shows a part of a transmission electron microscope,
Figure 2
schematically shows a Zernike phase plate,
Figure 3
schematically shows a layer of nano-crystalline graphite,
Figure 4A
shows the diffraction pattern of a thin film of amorphous carbon,
Figure 4B
shows the diffraction pattern of a treated thin film,
Figure 5A
shows an amorphous carbon film with "footprints, and
Figure 5B
shows a laser treated film where "footprints" are absent.


[0045] Figure 1 schematically shows a part of a transmission electron microscope.

[0046] A parallel beam 102 of electrons with a selectable energy of, for example, between 40 and 400 keV, travelling along an optical axis 100. The beam of electrons is formed by an electron source (not shown) and turned in a parallel beam by condenser optics (not shown). The condenser optics can vary the diameter of the beam. The beam then impinges on the sample 104, that is positioned in the objective lens 108 by positioning unit 106. Due to the wave nature of electrons part of the electrons are scattered by the sample in beams 112A and 112B. These beams, and the central beam of unscattered electrons is focused in the diffraction plane 114. In the diffraction plane thus a Fourier representation of the sample is available. The diffraction plane is imaged by the diffraction lens 110, forming an enlarged image of the sample in image plane 116.

[0047] Figure 2 schematically shows a Zernike phase plate.

[0048] The Zernike phase plate consists of a thin film 200 of a material with a small hole. The diameter of the hole is typically 1 μm or less, and the material typically carbon. The wavelength of the electrons while passing through the carbon is shorter than when passing through vacuum. As a result the beams of electrons 112A and 112B, after passing through the carbon film, are phase shifted compared to the beam 102 passing through the hole. When now a beam of hardly scattered electrons (beam 112A and 112B close to the hole) are made to interfere in the image plane 116 with the beam of unscattered electrons 102, the contrast transfer function is high, opposed to the situation that would occur when the phase shift was not introduced: then the contrast transfer function would be zero, assuming there are no optical aberrations in the system.

[0049] It is noted that the phase plate is positioned in the diffraction plane on a high precision holder. Alternatively the phase plate is not placed in the diffraction plane, but in an image of that plane, preferably an enlarged image, thereby making it easier to position the phase plate.

[0050] Figure 3 schematically shows a layer of nano-crystalline graphite.

[0051] The lattice of NCG is built from hexagons of carbon atoms, the atoms here represented as dots. The atoms are in one plane (graphite has many planes stacked on top of each other). The most important lattice constants are d1 = 0,213 nm and d2 = 0,123 nm. The smaller distance of d1 results in a smaller circle 402 in the diffraction pattern shown in figures 4A and 4B, while the smaller distance of d2 results in the larger circle 404 in the diffraction pattern shown in figures 4A and 4B.

[0052] It is noted that normal graphitic carbon also shows substantial peaks/rings at 0,334 nm due to the spacing between various stacked layers. Apparently this 3D layering is less prominently present or even completely absent in NCG: the absence of the associated ring in the diffractograms of figure 3B is proof that there is no stacking of carbon films on top of each other, as occurs in graphite.

[0053] It is noted that in "Diamond-like amorphous carbon", J. Robertson, Materials Science and Engineering R37, 129-281 (2002) [-5-], specifically at page 154, it is mentioned that the 0,334 nm ring is related to inter-layer scattering, and this is only seen if there is a clear layer ordering in a graphitic structure. Note that Roberson uses structure factor S(k) = (2 π)/d, and therefore 1,9/Angstrom (19/nm) corresponds to 3,3 Angstrom (0,33 nm). From this it can be understood that the absence of this ring implies that no such ordering is present.

[0054] Figure 4A shows the diffraction pattern of an amorphous thin film. There is a large central spot 400, representing the unscattered and slightly scattered electrons. A diffuse ring 402 represents electrons that are scattered at structures with a mutual distance of approximately 0,22 nm. Ring 402 is not sharply defined, indicating that there is a relative large variation on the mutual distance of these structures, as can be expected for amorphous material: there is no or little order. That the ring does not show points or arcs with larger intensity implies that there is no rotational preference of the scattering, another feature of amorphous material. Ring 404 represents the smaller lattice distance d2 of approximately 0,122 nm. Object 406 is (the image of) the intercept needle blocking the central beam so as to avoid over-illumination and/or damage to the image sensor.

[0055] Figure 4B shows the diffraction pattern of the thin film after treatment.

[0056] The rings are much better defined. Careful analysis of the diffraction pattern showed rings corresponding to lattice distances of 0,211 nm (100%), 0,122 nm (50%), 0,107 nm (7 %), and peaks at 0.081, 0,071 and 0,062 nm (all at less than 5%).

[0057] Figure 5A shows an amorphous carbon film with "footprints".

[0058] Figure 5A shows an amorphous carbon film 500 with perforations 502. On the film a beam of electrons has impinged, resulting in "footprints" 504. These "footprints" are believed to result from a (temporary) change in electronic structure in the carbon film, and disappear in approximately 1 day.

[0059] Figure 5B shows a laser treated carbon film.

[0060] The film shown in figure 5B is in origin identical to the film shown in figure 5A, but this film is laser treated. No "footprints" are visible. However, the thermal treatment induced some mechanical deformation.

[0061] Compared to the diffraction pattern of figure 4A of amorphous carbon the rings and central spot are much better defined. The rings 202 and 204 do not show any granularity, proving that many crystals are present with a random orientation with respect to each other. Experiments showed that this is the case even for a beam diameter of 100 nm, even for a beam diameter as small as 100 nm.

[0062] Experiments were made in which an amorphous carbon film with a thickness of 20 nm was placed in the evacuated sample chamber of a Scanning Electron Microscope. Such a foil was first inspected in a TEM, and the diffraction pattern shown in figure 4A was thus recorded.

[0063] The foil was heated with a laser beam having a power of 10 mW and a wave length of 785 nm heating a spot with a diameter of between 25 μm to 100 μm. It is estimated that, at these conditions and film thickness, the foil absorbed 10% of this power, resulting in an absorbed power density of between 0,78 MW/m2 (spot diameter 100 μm) and 12 MW/m2 (spot diameter 25 μm). After heating the foil for several seconds, the laser beam was turned off and the foil was allowed to cool down in the sample chamber (the chamber at room temperature) to room temperature. Afterwards the condition of the foil was inspected in a TEM, and the diffraction pattern of figure 4B was recorded.

[0064] It is noted that preferably the film is cleaned before heating, as a film that is not heated is contaminated. A carbon contamination with carbon in another structure than amorphous carbon may results in a film with varying thickness, and it is suggested that a non-amorphous carbon film is also transformed into non-NCG carbon film. It is believed that a focused laser beam will also crack mobile contaminants on the film surface, causing a large build-up of some kind of amorphous carbon (but not of the type wanted), and also leading a large local change in thickness. It appears that heating to 250 °C (the temperature of the heating holder) is optimal.

[0065] Heating is thus preferably performed by pre-heating in vacuum to a temperature of approximately 250 °C.

[0066] It is noted that plasma cleaning is possible, but can easily change the thickness of the film through etching. This makes plasma cleaning a less preferred option for cleaning, but a candidate for fine-tuning the thickness of the thin film.

[0067] It is noted that during experiments a phase plate of NCG is used for an extended period of time at a temperature of slightly more than 500K (250 °C) without losing the nano-crystalline form taking place, or any other deterioration. Therefore it is believed that a cooling down (quenching) of the film from 2000K to 2500K to 1000K within 0,25 ms is sufficiently fast. This can be achieved by turning off the heating laser and allowing the film to cool down in an environment at room temperature, or slightly above (for example less than 500 K).

Cited non-patent literature



[0068] 
  1. [-1-] "Phase Contrast Enhancement with Phase Plates in Biological Electron Microscopy", K. Nagayama et al., Microscopy Today, Vol. 18 No. 4 (July 2010), pp. 10-13.
  2. [-2-] Internet brochure http://www.emgrid.com.au/pdf/ACF-Metals-Products.pdf, created 14/08/2007, Arizona Carbon Foil Co., Inc, Tucson, Arizona, USA more specifically paragraph 1, most specifically paragraph 1.1.
  3. [-3-] Page of internet sales brochure http://www.agarscientific.com/ultra-smooth-carbon-foils.html, Agar Scientific, Stansted, Essex, CM24 8GF, United Kingdom.
  4. [-4-] "Electron Vortex Beams with High Quanta of Orbital Angular Momentum", B. J. McMorran et al., Science 331, 192 (2011), pp. 192 - 195.
  5. [-5-] "Diamond-like amorphous carbon", J. Robertson, Materials Science and Engineering R37, 129 - 281 (2002).



Claims

1. A method of producing a freestanding thin film of nano-crystalline graphite, the method comprising the steps of:

• providing a freestanding thin film of amorphous carbon,

• locally heating the freestanding thin film to a high temperature in an inert atmosphere or in a vacuum; and

• allowing the freestanding thin film to cool down,

as a result of which a freestanding thin film of nano-crystalline graphite is formed.
 
2. The method of claim 1 in which the local heating is performed by irradiating the freestanding thin film with a laser beam.
 
3. The method of claim 2 in which the wavelength of the laser, the power of the laser, the size of the irradiated area and the thickness of the thin film are such that the free-standing thin film absorbs locally between 0,1 MW/m2 and 20 MW/m2, more preferably between 0,75 MW/m2 and 12 MW/m2.
 
4. The method of any of the preceding claims in which during local heating the temperature of the freestanding thin film rises locally to between 1000 K and 3700 K, more preferably to between 1625 K and 3250 K.
 
5. The method of any of the preceding claims in which the freestanding thin film is locally heated for at least 1 second.
 
6. The method of any of the preceding claims in which the freestanding thin film has a thickness of less than 1 µm, more specifically less than 250 nm, most specifically less than 100 nm.
 
7. The method of any of the preceding claims in which the freestanding thin film is allowed to cool down in an environment of less than 500 K, more specifically in an environment at room temperature.
 
8. The method of any of any of the preceding claims in which the freestanding thin film is allowed to cool down to a temperature below 1000 K in less than 1 ms, more specifically less than 0.25 ms.
 
9. The method of any of the preceding claims in which the freestanding thin film is supported by a TEM grid, preferably a TEM grid of metal or silicon.
 
10. The method of any of the preceding claims, the method further comprising the additional step of forming one or more holes in the film for passing beams of undiffracted or diffracted electrons, as a result of which a phase plate or phase mask for a Transmission Electron Microscope is formed.
 
11. A component for a Transmission Electron Microscope, the component comprising or made of a freestanding thin film of nano-crystalline graphite.
 
12. The component of claim 11 in which the component is from the group of phase plates, phase masks, and sample carriers.
 
13. A Transmission Electron Microscope comprising the component of any of claims 11 - 12.
 


Ansprüche

1. Ein Verfahren zur Herstellung eines freistehenden Dünnfilms aus nanokristallinem Graphit, wobei das Verfahren die Schritte umfasst:

• Bereitstellen eines freistehenden Dünnfilms aus amorphem Kohlenstoff,

• lokales Erwärmen des freistehenden Dünnfilms auf eine hohe Temperatur in einer inerten Atmosphäre oder in einem Vakuum; und

• Abkühlenlassen des freistehenden Dünnfilms,

wodurch ein freistehender Dünnfilm aus nanokristallinem Graphit gebildet wird.
 
2. Das Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei das lokale Erwärmen durch Bestrahlen des freistehenden Dünnfilms mit einem Laserstrahl durchgeführt wird.
 
3. Das Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 2, wobei die Wellenlänge des Lasers, die Leistung des Lasers, die Größe der bestrahlten Fläche und die Dicke des Dünnfilms derart sind, dass der freistehende Dünnfilm lokal zwischen 0.1 MW/m2 und 20 MW/m2, stärker bevorzugt zwischen 0.75 MW/m2 und 12 MW/m2, absorbiert.
 
4. Das Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei während des lokalen Erwärmens die Temperatur des freistehenden Dünnfilms lokal auf zwischen 1000 K und 3700 K, stärker bevorzugt auf zwischen 1625 K und 3250 K, ansteigt.
 
5. Das Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der freistehende Dünnfilm für mindestens 1 Sekunde lokal erwärmt wird.
 
6. Das Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der freistehende Dünnfilm eine Dicke von weniger als 1 µm, insbesondere weniger als 250 nm, und ganz besonders weniger als 100 nm, hat.
 
7. Das Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der freistehende Dünnfilm in einer Umgebung von weniger als 500 K, insbesondere in einer Umgebung bei Raumtemperatur, abkühlen gelassen wird.
 
8. Das Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der freistehende Dünnfilm in weniger als 1 ms, insbesondere in weniger als 0,25 ms, auf eine Temperatur unter 1000 K abkühlen gelassen wird.
 
9. Das Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der freistehende Dünnfilm durch ein TEM-Gitter, vorzugsweise ein TEM-Gitter aus Metall oder Silicium, geträgert ist.
 
10. Das Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Verfahren weiter den zusätzlichen Schritt des Bildens eines oder mehrerer Löcher in dem Film zum Hindurchleiten ungestreuter oder gestreuter Elektronenstrahlen umfasst, wodurch eine Phasenplatte oder Phasenmaske für ein Transmissionselektronenmikroskop gebildet wird.
 
11. Eine Komponente für ein Transmissionselektronenmikroskop, wobei die Komponente einen freistehenden Dünnfilm aus nanokristallinem Graphit umfasst oder daraus besteht.
 
12. Die Komponente gemäß Anspruch 11, wobei die Komponente aus der Gruppe von Phasenplatten, Phasenmasken und Probenträgern stammt.
 
13. Ein Transmissionselektronenmikroskop, umfassend die Komponente gemäß einem der Ansprüche 11 - 12.
 


Revendications

1. Procédé de production d'un film mince autonome de graphite nanocristallin, le procédé comprenant les étapes consistant à :

- fournir un film mince autonome de carbone amorphe,

- chauffer localement le film mince autonome à haute température sous atmosphère inerte ou sous vide ; et

- laisser refroidir le film mince autonome,

ayant pour résultat la formation d'un film mince autonome de graphite nanocristallin.
 
2. Procédé selon la revendication 1 dans lequel le chauffage local s'effectue par irradiation du film mince autonome par un faisceau laser.
 
3. Procédé selon la revendication 2 dans lequel la longueur d'onde du laser, la puissance du laser, la dimension de la zone irradiée et l'épaisseur du film mince sont telles que le film mince autonome absorbe localement entre 0,1 MW/m2 et 20 MW/m2, de préférence entre 0,75 MW/m2 et 12 MW/m2.
 
4. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes dans lequel, pendant le chauffage local, la température du film mince autonome augmente localement jusqu'à être comprise entre 1 000 K et 3 700 K, de préférence entre 1 625 K et 3 250 K.
 
5. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes dans lequel le film mince autonome est chauffé localement pendant au moins 1 seconde.
 
6. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes dans lequel le film mince autonome a une épaisseur inférieure à 1 µm, plus précisément inférieure à 250 nm et très précisément inférieure à 100 nm.
 
7. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes dans lequel on laisse refroidir le film mince autonome dans un milieu inférieur à 500 K et plus précisément, dans un milieu à température ambiante.
 
8. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes dans lequel on laisse refroidir le film mince autonome jusqu'à une température inférieure à 1 000 K en moins de 1 ms et plus précisément, en moins de 0,25 ms.
 
9. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes dans lequel le film mince autonome s'appuie sur une grille TEM, de préférence une grille TEM de métal ou de silicium.
 
10. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comprenant en outre l'étape complémentaire qui consiste à former un ou plusieurs trous dans le film pour le passage de faisceaux d'électrons diffractés ou non diffractés, ayant pour résultat la formation d'une lame de phase ou d'un masque de phase pour un microscope électronique à transmission.
 
11. Composant pour microscope électronique à transmission, le composant comprenant un film mince autonome de graphite nanocristallin ou étant constitué dudit film.
 
12. Composant selon la revendication 11 dans lequel le composant est issu du groupe des lames de phase, des masques de phase et des porte-échantillons.
 
13. Microscope électronique à transmission comprenant le composant selon l'une quelconque des revendications 11 et 12.
 




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Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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Patent documents cited in the description




Non-patent literature cited in the description