The cathodoluminescence revolution goes 3D

Paul Boughton

New AttoMap software, based on Digital Surf’s Mountains technology, brings 3D imaging of spectroscopic information obtained using Attolight’s cathodoluminescence (CL) technology. The CL technology integrates a scanning electron microscope and a light microscope into high-resolution spectroscopy instruments used by global players to characterise semiconductors, solar cells and other nano devices. 3D visualisation of spectroscopic information in AttoMap makes it easier for researchers and quality engineers to locate and characterise features and defects on these devices and other nanoscale objects.

The Attolight CL microscope generates images containing up to 1,600 colours. Visualising such images, called hyperspectral maps, is a real challenge since the human eye can only perceive the three primary colours, red, green and blue and mixtures of these colours.

AttoMap software brings a very powerful solution to this problem. First, it allows the user to convert relevant spectral bands into colours that he or she can perceive, such as red, green and blue. The software then automatically generates a 2D RGB image that is both friendly to the human eye and makes it easy for the user to see the location of specific spectral features. Finally, AttoMap transforms this image into a 3D map, where the third dimension corresponds to the cathodoluminescence intensity. It is a very convenient method for understanding how intense each spectral band is compared to other bands. This 3D map can be modified in real time to facilitate inspection.