The delocalization of x-ray signals limits the spatial resolution in atomic-scale elemental mapping by scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) using energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS). In this study, using a SrTiO 3  single crystal, we show that the x-ray localization to atomic columns is strongly dependent on crystal thickness, and a thin crystal is critical for improving the spatial resolution in atomic-scale EDS mapping. A single-frame scanning technique is used in this study instead of the multiple-frame technique to avoid peak broadening due to tracking error. The strong thickness dependence is realized by measuring the full width at half maxima (FWHM) as well as the peak-to-valley (P/V) ratio of the EDS profiles for Ti K and Sr K + L, obtained at several crystal thicknesses. A FWHM of about 0.16 nm and a P/V ratio of greater than 7.0 are obtained for Ti K for a crystal thickness of less than 20 nm. With increasing crystal thickness, the FWHM and P/V ratio increases and decreases, respectively, indicating the advantage of using a thin crystal for high-resolution EDS mapping.
- Atomic-scale EDS
- Single-frame scanning method
- Thickness dependence
- X-ray localization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics