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- updated 5/21/2017

Learning to LEAP® Opportunities

The options to increase your knowledge about atom probe tomography continue to grow!
Here are some opportunities you may want to consider now and in the coming year.

2017 APT User's Meeting

APT User Meeting 2017 600pix 

The Users' Meeting was a success! Scientists, engineers, business leaders, academics and more gathered to discuss the latest developments in Atom Probe Tomography, and to have some fun. Watch this space for more pictures and information from the meeting. And mark your calendars for the next Atom Probe Users' Meeting, scheduled for June 2019. We hope to see you then!


On July 18, 2017, CAMECA celebrated the grand opening of its new US office for LEAP, EIKOS, and Nu Instruments.

  Grand Opening

Microscopy and Microanalysis (MSA) - July 23-27, 2017 - St. Louis, Missouri, USA

CAMECA will be exhibiting and hosting events at this years M&M. More info to come!

An important message for all IFES members who may be attending the conference:

If you are planning on attending the M&M 2017 meeting (, we would kindly remind you when you register to also click on "IFES member". Our society is a sponsor this year and we need to track the number of IFES members who will participate at M&M2017.

Gregory B. Thompson
Professor Department of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering
The University of Alabama

European APT Workshop 2017 - October 2-5 - Gullmarstrand, Sweden
- Hosted by Chalmers University of Technology

The Chalmers Atom Probe Group is pleased to organize the 2017 European APT workshop. Following on from previous workshops in Oxford, Zurich and Leoben the main goal of the European APT Workshop is to bring together scientists from across Europe to share current research findings in the field of atom probe tomography. We have also arranged an introductory session to both APT and IVAS on the 20th of September, hosted by CAMECA.

Registration is now open! Click here.
More information can be found on the website.

APT&M 2018 Meeting - June 10 - 15, 2018 - Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA

The next Atom Probe Tomography and Microscopy Symposium (APT&M 2018) run by The International Field Emission Society (IFES) will be held at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD. Gaithersburg is a fitting location since it was at NIST, just over 50 years ago, that Erwin W. Müller and John A. Panitz first introduced the atom probe field ion microscope (14th Field Emission Symposium, 1967).

Find more information on the IFES News & Events website page.

LEAP Wins 4th R&D 100 Award!

Our newest Atom Probe, the LEAP 5000, is included among the 100 most significant developments in Research and Development. This is the 4th R&D 100 award received by the LEAP product line -- already a winner in 2004, 2006 and 2008! more ...

Advanced Structural and Chemical Imaging welcomes submissions to the new thematic series of the "Atom Probe Tomography."

Springer Nature has launched a special issue focusing on the discussion and development of best practice procedures for specimen preparation, data collection and analysis including mass spectral analysis, terminology, and data reporting. It will ultimately comprise a collection of manuscripts, either individual or review style articles, that help define the need for a specific best practice procedure or approach and, very importantly, provide a potential best practice solution.

All manuscripts will undergo rigorous peer review and accepted articles will be published within the journal as a collection. The deadline for submissions is July 31, 2017.
More information here:

APT Training - Madison, Wisconsin, USA

On demand training at the CAMECA US factory or at your lab, customized to your needs.
Ask for details and a quotation by sending an email to:

Microscopy Society of America (MSA) - Atom Probe Field Ion Microscopy FIG

Become a member and propose actions to strengthen the community and technique.

Worldwide CAMECA Supported Workshops

CAMECA is pleased to announce it will be soliciting requests to hold worldwide workshops with a focus on training existing and new users.
We are looking for academic or other research institutions to host the events.

Please contact if you are interested in learning more.


CAMECA's New 3D Atom Probe Microscope.

13 June 2016:  CAMECA unveiled EIKOS
during the APT&M Conference in Korea.

We derived our new instrument’s name from the Greek word meaning ‘image,’ and we trust that EIKOS will bring atom probe tomography within the reach of many new microscopists, researchers and engineers, allowing them to image their materials at the atomic level.

The CAMECA Atom Probe Tomography product line now comprises two families:
  • the LEAP 5000 (Local Electrode Atom Probe), which provides the fastest, most sensitive 3D imaging and analysis with nanoscale resolution across the widest range of applications (metals, oxides, ceramics, advanced energy storage materials, semiconductors and electronics, bio-minerals and geochemistry),
  • the newly launched EIKOS family, which offers accessibility to atom probe tomography with improved ease of use and a low cost of ownership that addresses both research and industrial applications.

Publications featuring Atom Probe

* The March 2017 issue of Nature Communications takes APT where no man has gone before! "Atomic-scale age resolution of planetary events" includes contributions from CAMECA researchers. 

Resolving the timing of crustal processes and meteorite impact events is central to under-standing the formation, evolution and habitability of planetary bodies. However, identifying multi-stage events from complex planetary materials is highly challenging at the length scales of current isotopic techniques. Here we show that accurate U-Pb isotopic analysis of nanoscale domains of baddeleyite can be achieved by atom probe tomography. Within individual crystals of highly shocked baddeleyite from the Sudbury impact structure, three discrete nanostructural domains have been isolated yielding average 206pb/238U ages of 2,436±94 Ma (protolith crystallization) from homogenous-Fe domains, 1,852±45 Ma(impact) from clustered-Fe domains and 1,412±56 Ma (tectonic metamorphism) from planar and subgrain boundary structures. Baddeleyite is a common phase in terrestrial, Martian, Lunar and asteroidal materials, meaning this atomic-scale approach holds great potential in establishing a more accurate chronology of the formation and evolution of planetary crusts.

Read the full article at Nature Communications.

* The April 2017 issue of Microscopy and Microanalysis is focused on atom probe tomography, and includes a technology overview from CAMECA's Drs. Ty J. Prosa and David J. Larson. 

Approximately 30 years after the first use of focused ion beam (FIB) instruments to prepare atom probe tomography specimens, this technique has grown to be used by hundreds of researchers around the world. This past decade has seen tremendous advances in atom probe applications, enabled by the continued development of FIB-based specimen preparation methodologies. In this work, we provide a short review of the origin of the FIB method and the standard methods used today for lift-out and sharpening, using the annular milling method as applied to atom probe tomography specimens. Key steps for enabling correlative analysis with transmission electron-beam backscatter diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, and atom probe tomography are presented, and strategies for preparing specimens for modern microelectronic device structures are reviewed and discussed in detail. Examples are used for discussion of the steps for each of these methods. We conclude with examples of the challenges presented by complex topologies such as nanowires, nanoparticles, and organic materials.

More at Microscopy and Microanalysis.

* The March 2017 issue of Science has an article on how Atom Probe Tomography was used to observe hydrogen atoms in ferritic steel.

The design of atomic-scale microstructural traps to limit the diffusion of hydrogen is one key strategy in the development of hydrogen-embrittlement–resistant materials. In the case of bearing steels, an effective trapping mechanism may be the incorporation of finely dispersed V-Mo-Nb carbides in a ferrite matrix. First, we charged a ferritic steel with deuterium by means of electrolytic loading to achieve a high hydrogen concentration. We then immobilized it in the microstructure with a cryogenic transfer protocol before atom probe tomography (APT) analysis. Using APT, we show trapping of hydrogen within the core of these carbides with quantitative composition profiles. Furthermore, with this method the experiment can be feasibly replicated in any APT-equipped laboratory by using a simple cold chain.

Read the article at Science or download the pdf.

* A wealth of Atom Probe articles are available at Geoscience Atom Probe Research Outputs. Journal articles, book chapters, and presentations from conferences and workshops on the continued use of atom probe tomography in geoscience.

Scan the multi-year collection here.

* From February 2016 issue of Nature Communications: Deformation-induced trace element redistribution in zircon revealed using Atom Probe Tomography.

Trace elements diffuse negligible distances through the pristine crystal lattice in minerals: this is a fundamental assumption when using them to decipher geological processes. For example, the reliable use of the mineral zircon (ZrSiO4) as a U-Th-Pb geochronometer and trace element monitor requires minimal radiogenic isotope and trace element mobility. Here, using atom probe tomography, we document the effects of crystal–plastic deformation on atomic-scale elemental distributions in zircon revealing sub-micrometre-scale mechanisms of trace element mobility. Dislocations that move through the lattice accumulate U and other trace elements. Pipe diffusion along dislocation arrays connected to a chemical or structural sink results in continuous removal of selected elements (for example, Pb), even after deformation has ceased. However, in disconnected dislocations, trace elements remain locked. Our findings have important implications for the use of zircon as a geochronometer, and highlight the importance of deformation on trace element redistribution in minerals and engineering materials.

Read the full article at Nature Communications.

* From the February 2015 issue of Science: Amorphous intergranular phases control the properties of rodent tooth enamel.

Dental enamel, a hierarchical material composed primarily of hydroxylapatite nanowires, is susceptible to degradation by plaque biofilm–derived acids. The solubility of enamel strongly depends on the presence of Mg2+, F, and CO32–. However, determining the distribution of these minor ions is challenging. We show—using atom probe tomography, x-ray absorption spectroscopy, and correlative techniques—that in unpigmented rodent enamel, Mg2+ is predominantly present at grain boundaries as an intergranular phase of Mg-substituted amorphous calcium phosphate (Mg-ACP). In the pigmented enamel, a mixture of ferrihydrite and amorphous iron-calcium phosphate replaces the more soluble Mg-ACP, rendering it both harder and more resistant to acid attack. These results demonstrate the presence of enduring amorphous phases with a dramatic influence on the physical and chemical properties of the mature mineralized tissue.

Read the full article in the February 2015 issue of Science.

* From the August 2015 issue of Nature Communications: Visualizing nanoscale 3D compositional fluctuation of lithium in advanced lithium-ion battery cathodes.

The distribution of cations in Li-ion battery cathodes as a function of cycling is a pivotal characteristic of battery performance. The transition metal cation distribution has been shown to affect cathode performance; however, Li is notoriously challenging to characterize with typical imaging techniques. Here laser-assisted atom probe tomography (APT) is used to map the three-dimensional distribution of Li at a sub-nanometre spatial resolution and correlate it with the distribution of the transition metal cations (M) and the oxygen. As-fabricated layered Li1.2Ni0.2Mn0.6O2 is shown to have Li-rich Li2MO3 phase regions and Li-depleted Li(Ni0.5Mn0.5)O2 regions. Cycled material has an overall loss of Li in addition to Ni-, Mn- and Li-rich regions. Spinel LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4 is shown to have a uniform distribution of all cations. APT results were compared to energy dispersive spectroscopy mapping with a scanning transmission electron microscope to confirm the transition metal cation distribution.

Read the full article in the August 2015 issue of Nature Communications.

* From the July 2015 issue of Nature Communications: Determining the location and nearest neighbours of aluminium in zeolites with atom probe tomography.

Zeolite catalysis is determined by a combination of pore architecture and Brønsted acidity. As Brønsted acid sites are formed by the substitution of AlO4 for SiO4 tetrahedra, it is of utmost importance to have information on the number as well as the location and neighbouring sites of framework aluminium. Unfortunately, such detailed information has not yet been obtained, mainly due to the lack of suitable characterization methods. Here we report, using the powerful atomic-scale analysis technique known as atom probe tomography, the quantitative spatial distribution of individual aluminium atoms, including their three-dimensional extent of segregation. Using a nearest-neighbour statistical analysis, we precisely determine the short-range distribution of aluminium over the different T-sites and determine the most probable Al–Al neighbouring distance within parent and steamed ZSM-5 crystals, as well as assess the long-range redistribution of aluminium upon zeolite steaming.

Read this full article in the July 2015 issue of Nature Communications.

* From the November 2014 issue of Nature Communications: Atomically resolved tomography to directly inform simulations for structure-property relationships

Microscopy encompasses a wide variety of forms and scales. So too does the array of simulation techniques developed that correlate to and build upon microstructural information. Nevertheless, a true nexus between microscopy and atomistic simulations is lacking. Atom probe has emerged as a potential means of achieving this goal. Atom probe generates three-dimensional atomistic images in a format almost identical to many atomistic simulations. However, this data is imperfect, preventing input into computational algorithms to predict material properties. Here we describe a methodology to overcome these limitations, based on a hybrid data format, blending atom probe and predictive Monte Carlo simulations. We create atomically complete and lattice-bound models of material specimens. This hybrid data can then be used as direct input into density functional theory simulations to calculate local energetics and elastic properties. This research demonstrates the role that atom probe combined with theoretical approaches can play in modern materials engineering.

Read the full article in the November 2014 issue of Nature Communications.

* From March 2014: Atomic-Scale Quantification of Grain Boundary Segregation in Nanocrystalline Material, available at Researchgate (membership required).

Grain boundary segregation leads to nanoscale chemical variations that can alter a material's performance by orders of magnitude (e.g., embrittlement). To understand this phenomenon, a large number of grain boundaries must be characterized in terms of both their five crystallographic interface parameters and their atomic-scale chemical composition. We demonstrate how this can be achieved using an approach that combines the accuracy of structural characterization in transmission electron microscopy with the 3D chemical sensitivity of atom probe tomography. We find a linear trend between carbon segregation and the misorientation angle w for low-angle grain boundaries in ferrite, which indicates that w is the most influential crystallographic parameter in this regime. However, there are significant deviations from this linear trend indicating an additional strong influence of other crystallographic parameters (grain boundary plane, rotation axis). For high-angle grain boundaries, no general trend between carbon excess and w is observed; i.e., the grain boundary plane and rotation axis have an even higher influence on the segregation behavior in this regime. Slight deviations from special grain boundary configurations are show to lead to unexpectedly high levers of segregation.

Access the article at Researchgate.

* From the February 2012 issue of MRS Bulletin, written by CAMECA's Drs. Kelly and Larson: The second revolution in atom probe tomography

There has been explosive growth in the performance and consequential adoption of atom probe tomography in the past decade, which was fueled by the development of the commercial local-electrode atom probe (LEAP) and technologies for specimen preparation. The LEAP introduced to atom probes orders-of-magnitude increases in data collection rates and field of view while improving mass resolution and greatly improving ease of use. These developments constitute the second revolution in the field since the invention of the atom probe in 1967 and atom probe tomography in 1973: the invention of the three-dimensional atom probe was the first revolution. This article seeks to put this second revolution into historical perspective by recounting the essential developments that led to this point. In particular, the role of Erwin Müller, the inventor of the atom probe and related instruments, is highlighted. From the invention of the field emission electron microscope to the field ion microscope to the atom probe and beyond, he created a field of microscopy that is thriving today. Next, the state of the art in atom probe instrumentation is illustrated with a current application. Finally, a brief look toward future developments is provided, which may include superconducting detectors and integration of atom probes with transmission electron microscopes.

Get this information article in the February 2012 issue of the MRS Bulletin.


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