Measurement of the size of embedded metal clusters by mass spectrometry, transmission electron microscopy, and small-angle X-ray scattering

C. Hendrich, L. Favre, D.N. Ievlev, A.N. Dobrynin, W. Bras, U. Hörmann, E. Piscopiello, G. Van Tendeloo, P. Lievens, K. Temst


Ensembles of nanometer-sized Au, Co, Er, and FePt clusters were generated by a laser vaporization source and embedded in a MgO matrix grown on a mica substrate. The size distribution of the clusters was measured before sample preparation by time-of-flight mass spectrometry and afterwards by transmission electron microscopy. These well-characterized samples were used for investigations by small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). The scattering data was evaluated by Guinier analysis providing the average radii of the embedded clusters. The results are in good agreement with the cluster sizes obtained from the mass spectra as well as the dimensions determined from the transmission electron micrographs. Furthermore, other samples which were produced at an elevated substrate temperature of 500 °C exhibited an increased average cluster radius in the SAXS measurements. This behavior is attributed to diffusion and coalescence emerging at higher deposition temperatures.

Appl. Phys. A (2007) 86: 533. doi:10.1007/s00339-006-3808-5