Best practices for reporting atom probe analysis of geological materials

Tyler Blum*, James Darling, Thomas F. Kelly, David J. Larson, Desmond E. Moser, Alberto Perez-Huerta, Ty J. Prosa, Steven M. Reddy, David A. Reinhard, David Saxey, Robert M. Ulfig, John W. Valley

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    The application of atom probe tomography (APT) within the Earth and planetary sciences has produced novel data sets that answer fundamental questions about the near atomic scale distribution of elements and isotopes within minerals. It involves the incremental evaporation, detection and subsequent computer reconstruction of charged particles from a needle-shaped specimen. The range of applications is growing such that protocols for reporting are needed for APT data comparison and quality assessment among natural materials. A particular challenge of APT science relates to documenting the instrumental and analyst-dependent conditions that affect the mass spectral and spatial qualities of the data and their interpretation. This contribution outlines recommended data reporting procedures for publication of atom probe tomography data in terms of the sample preparation, data collection and reconstruction phases as well as the characterization and interpretation of the reconstructed volume. Coordinated reporting of this basic information will promote efficient communication of protocols, and aid in the evaluation of published atom probe data as geologists continue to explore atomic compositions and distributions at nanoscale.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMicrostructural Geochronology
    Subtitle of host publicationPlanetary Records Down to Atom Scale
    EditorsDesmond E. Moser, Fernando Corfu, James R. Darling, Steven M. Reddy, Kimberly Tait
    PublisherAmerican Geophysical Union
    Number of pages5
    ISBN (Electronic)9781119227250
    ISBN (Print)9781119227243
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

    Publication series

    NameGeophysical Monograph Series
    PublisherAmerican Geophysical Union


    • atom probe tomography specimen preparation
    • data acquisition
    • data reporting procedures
    • earth science
    • geological materials
    • microstructural geochronology
    • natural materials
    • planetary science
    • quality assessment
    • radiogenic isotopes


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