X-ray ptychographic topography: A robust nondestructive tool for strain imaging
Strain and defects in crystalline materials are responsible for the distinct mechanical, electric, and magnetic properties of a desired material, making their study an essential task in material characterization, fabrication, and design. Existing techniques for the visualization of strain fields, such as transmission electron microscopy and diffraction, are destructive and limited to thin slices of the materials. On the other hand, nondestructive x-ray imaging methods either have a reduced resolution or are not robust enough for a broad range of applications. Here we present x-ray ptychographic topography, a method for strain imaging, and demonstrate its use on an InSb micropillar after microcompression, where the strained region is visualized with a spatial resolution of 30 nm. Thereby, x-ray ptychographic topography proves itself as a robust nondestructive approach for the imaging of strain fields within bulk crystalline specimens with a spatial resolution of a few tens of nanometers.