2004 Volume 45 Issue 7 Pages 2091-2098
In many ceramic systems thin amorphous films of about 1 nm thickness often cover grain boundaries. These amorphous films play a key role not only in the formation of microstructures but also in the thermal-mechanical properties of ceramic materials. However, such thin amorphous layers could not be probed directly by an analytical electron beam. With the recent advances in spatially-resolved electron energy-loss spectroscopy technique, chemical and physical parameters of the thin films could be successfully derived using the “spectrum separation” approach. Basic characters and behaviors of variations for the inter-granular films are analyzed in a few silicon nitride (Si3N4) and silicon carbide (SiC) systems. The combined local chemical-structural information reveal new trends on microstructures and properties, and provides further insights in Si-based ceramic materials.