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Journal of Sensors
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 961239, 8 pages
Research Article

Modelling of Atomic Imaging and Evaporation in the Field Ion Microscope

School of Chemistry and CRANN, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland

Received 15 June 2011; Revised 17 September 2011; Accepted 18 September 2011

Academic Editor: Sangmin Jeon

Copyright © 2012 Keith J. Fraser and John J. Boland. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Imaging and evaporation of atoms in the field ion microscope (FIM) has been modelled by using finite difference methods to calculate the voltage distribution around a tip and hence the electric field strength experienced by individual atoms. Atoms are evaporated based on field strength using a number of different mathematical models which yield broadly similar results. The tip shapes and simulated FIM images produced show strong agreement with experimental results for tips of the same orientation and crystal structure. Calculations have also been made to estimate the effects on resolution of using a field-sharpened tip for scanning probe microscopy.