The functionality of semiconductor devices is determined by the incorporation of dopants at concentrations down to the parts per million (ppm) level and below. Optimization of intentional and unintentional impurity doping relies on methods to detect and map the level of impurities. Detecting such low concentrations of impurities in nanostructures is however challenging to date as on the one hand methods used for macroscopic samples cannot be applied due to the inherent small volumes or faceted surfaces and on the other hand conventional microscopic analysis techniques are not sufficiently sensitive. Here, we show that we can detect and map impurities at the ppm level in semiconductor nanowires using atom probe tomography. We develop a method applicable to a wide variety of nanowires relevant for electronic and optical devices. We expect that it will contribute significantly to the further optimization of the synthesis of nanowires, nanostructures and devices based on these structures.
- Atom Probe Tomography