Scanning Microscopy


Cathodoluminescence (CL) color photographs using an optical CL microscope with a cold cathode electron gun are compared with non-spectrally resolved (polychromatic) and selected wavelength CL images obtained by means of a scanning electron microscope equipped with a CL spectrometer. It is the aim of this paper to show how the interpretation of the contrasts of CL images depends on the knowledge of the CL photon energy distributions participating to the observed contrasts as well as the matrix effects modifying the number of emitted photons compared to that of generated photons. It is shown that the impurities different from the rare earth elements (REE) activators are responsible for charge trapping mechanisms leading to the development of internal electric fields modifying the energy and spatial distribution of the electrons within the insulators and consequently modifying the relative intensities of the intrinsic (host lattice) emission and characteristic emission of a REE activator. In addition, the mechanisms of production of photons must be better understood before trying to express the CL intensity of a monochromatic line as a function of the corresponding REE activator.

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