Detection of photons emitted from single erbium atoms in energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy

Kazu Suenaga, Toshiya Okazaki, Eiji Okunishi, Syo Matsumura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The detection of photons emitted from single quantum objects is highly desirable for the diagnosis of nanoscale devices using microscopes. An extremely tiny probe (̃0.1 nm) with high current recently became available for aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy, and it is possible for individual atoms in nanoscale devices to be excited using such a highly focused probe. Here, we demonstrate the successful detection of characteristic X-ray signals from single erbium atoms using energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. The intensities of the erbium L and M lines from a single erbium atom were extremely weak in comparison to the N edge of electron energy-loss spectroscopy, demonstrating the intrinsic difficulty in sensing single atoms using X-ray spectroscopy. Nevertheless, this work will certainly help in the advance towards obtaining X-ray spectra from single atoms and to evaluate the fluorescence yield on a single-atom basis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-548
Number of pages4
JournalNature Photonics
Volume6
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

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