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Process and device for fast atom diffraction in surface analysis



Statut des brevets

French patent application FR0606211 filed on July 7th, 2006 entitled: “Dispositif et procédé de caractérisation de surfaces”


Philippe RONCIN

Statut commercial

Research agreement or exclusive licenses


Laboratory Laboratoire des collisions atomiques et moléculaires, Université Paris Sud, (UMR 8625), a CNRS laboratory, Orsay, France,



This invention describes a device and a process based on fast (100 to 1000 eV) atom diffraction for surface analysis. It makes it possible to determine the crystallographic structure of crystalline surfaces and control in real time crystal growth by molecular beams epitaxy.

The device is composed of an ion source (Fig1A-1), a neutralizer and a detection system (Fig1A-4). The beam of neutrals (Fig1A-2) is collimated and directed under grazing incidence (from 0.5° to 3°) on the sample surface (Fig 1A-3). The detection system consists of microchannel plates coupled to a phosphor screen, its high efficiency makes it possible to work with extremely low beam intensities, as compared to other techniques (RHEED).


Because this technique uses atoms at grazing angles, it is sensitive only to the top surface layer and allows the study of insulating samples in a totally non destructive manner. This represents a major advantage compared to RHEED, which induces a charging of the surface and generally creates irreversible damage on this type of material.


This device finds its use in real time control of thin film growth and the study of crystallographic structures of semi-conductors and insulators. This device is fully compatible with Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) systems.

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