In the early fifties, before Richard Feynman famously seeded the concept of nanoscience in his 1959 talk “there’s plenty of room at the bottom” [1], and well before the concept of nanotechnology became popular in the late 80’s, a significant research effort was already underway into the fundamental nanoscience associated with high-field effects at surfaces and the resulting emission of ions and electrons [2]. Born from this work, in 1955, field ion microscopy (FIM) became the first true atomic scale microscopy technique, allowing us to ‘see atoms’ for the very first time [3]. The technique, invented by Erwin Müller in 1951 employed a specimen shaped into a sharp point, enabling it to act as a point projection field ion emitter. The specimen was cooled to 78K in the presence of He gas. This gas was adsorbed and subsequently field ionized and detected, with the distribution of detected atoms showing the arrangement of the specimen atoms at the surface of the tip.

Sixty years on, this seminal work by Erwin Müller has spurred important and wide-ranging research, including many significant discoveries and inventions [4]. Progressive field evaporated of surface atoms can be detected [5] and their positions reconstructed to create high-resolution 3D atom maps in a technique known as atom probe tomography [6], which has become an established microscopy technique. It’s use in materials characterisation has led to ground-breaking research including the first 3D images of segregation to dislocations [7], understanding the growth of nanowires [8], determining the kinetics of elemental steps of catalytic surface reactions [9], revealing precipitation pathways in important engineering alloys [10] and confirmation of the dating of the oldest minerals on earth [11], to name just a few examples. Other contributions from field-emission science include the development of the liquid metal ion source that now forms the basis of focused ion beam instruments [12], field electron emission from new forms of emitter [13] along with the sustained development of theory around high-field effects at surfaces [14].

It is timely that we recognize these exceptional contributions. The International Field Emission Society (IFES) originally grew from pioneering research on high-field nanoscience, and supports the development and application of techniques and instruments based on these effects. It has hosted symposia since 1952 occurring every one to two years. In 2016, this conference, “Atom Probe Tomography & Microscopy (55th IFES)” will be held in Gyeongju, South Korea (June 12-17). At the event, the Steering Committee of the IFES (see note at end of this article for a list of members) is proud to award an inaugural round of “Fellows of the International Field Emission Society”, elected in recognition of eminence in the field of field emission, field ionization, and related phenomena. These individuals have been nominated and elected by their peers for outstanding research that has pushed the frontiers of knowledge in the field. Many have also undertaken distinguished service to the IFES. Those to be honored as IFES fellows in 2016 are listed below:

Hans-Olof Andren, Chalmers University of Technology:  For development of atom probe techniques, and for his use of atom probe instruments as materials science tools to study the detailed microstructure of primarily metallic materials.

Didier Blavette, Université de Rouen:  For unique contributions to atom probe field ion microscopy spanning the fundamental physics of the technique, instrumentation, and cutting-edge materials characterization.

Alfred Cerezo, University of Oxford:  For development of the position sensitive atom probe, which opened new dimensions and perspectives in both material science and instrumentation.

Paul Cutler, The Pennsylvania State University:  For working on theory of field electron and ion emission over more than 50 years, developing quantum mechanical models to explain and predict the behavior of field electron emitters.

Richard Forbes, University of Surrey:  For his many contributions to the growth of the theory and understanding of field electron and ion emission as well as his contributions to the society.          

Georgiy Fursey, St Petersburg University of Telecommunications:  For wide-ranging, outstanding contributions to field electron emission science and technology, particularly explosive emission and emission from semiconductors.

Robert Gomer, University of Chicago:  For outstanding contributions to science, especially areas of field electron and ion emission and their application to problems in surface chemistry, and for public service.

Kazuhiro Hono, National Institute for Materials Science:  For key contributions to the growth of atom probe, developments in instrumentation, and broad utilization of the technique to impact the study of magnetic materials and precipitation hardening.

Gary Kellogg, Retired:  For fundamental technical contributions to laser-pulsed atom probe instrumentation and numerous aspects of surface and materials science, and for extraordinary service to the nanoscience community.

Thomas Kelly, Cameca Inc.:  For revolutionizing atom probe technology with the invention of the LEAP, and for service to the IFES community as President of the society.

Hans-Juergen Kreuzer, Dalhousie University:  Published more than 325 papers, 8 books, and 6 patents in the area of physics and chemistry of high electric fields.

Norbert Kruse, Washington State University:  For sustained contributions towards understanding chemical physics at materials surfaces and outstanding service to the high field nanoscience and atom probe communities.

Allan Melmed, Retired:  One of the most distinguished scientists of the IFES community, with a lifetime experience in field emission since his PhD thesis with the late EW Müller.

Michael Miller, Retired:  For seminal contributions in the development and application of atom probe tomography as demonstrated by his 600+ publications, service to the community, and impactful collaborations with numerous international scientists and engineers in their development and use of atom probe tomography.

Marwan Mousa, Mu'tah University:  For outstanding contributions to field emission science and for service to the society including organization of the 45th IFES.

Osamu Nishikawa, Kanazawa Institute of Technology:  For outstanding contributions to atom probe becoming a mainstream scientific instrument in hundreds of laboratories around the world.

John Panitz, University New Mexico:  As one of the inventors of the atom probe technique, John Panitz’ contributions and vision for the technique enabled its large acceptance in the international realm of materials characterization.

Simon Ringer, The University of Sydney:  For outstanding research in atom probe science, sustained IFES community service, including as Vice President and conference organiser and his role in training a new generation of field emission scientists.

Guido Schmitz, University of Stuttgart:  For his contribution to understanding diffusion and other atomic scale metallurgical processes studied using atom probe tomography.

David Seidman, Northwestern University:  Having advised more than 120 individuals and with 450+ publications, David Seidman's materials research based on APT and technique developments has laid a solid groundwork for atom probe groups worldwide.

George Smith, University of Oxford:  For more than 45 years of contributions and commitment to the field of atom probe field ion microscopy.

Krystyna Stiller, Chalmers University of Technology:  For fruitful use and development of atom probe techniques contributing to understanding of radiation damage, phase transformations, interfacial segregation and high temperature oxidation, and for promoting atom probe techniques.

Lynwood Swanson, FEI:  For outstanding scientific contributions to characterisation and development of field electron/ion emitters, and technical and managerial leadership of FEI Company in commercially developing these emitters and related instruments.

Tien Tsong, Academia Sinica:  For observation of the interaction between adsorbates on metal surfaces and for seminal research involving the use of a laser to promote thermal field evaporation.


The Steering Committee of the IFES currently consists of:

D. J. Larson (President)

F. Vurpillot (Vice-President)

G.B. Thompson (Secretary)

M.P. Moody (Treasurer)

J. Cairney

A. Ciszewski

K. Hono

H.-J. Kreuzer

S.S.A. Gerstl

M. Thuvander



[1] Feynman RP. There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom. Engineering and Science 1960:22-36.

[2] Dyke WP, Dolan WW. Field Emission.  Advances in Electronics and Electron Physics1956. p. 89-185.

[3] Müller EW. Field Ion Microscopy. Science 1965;149:591-601.

[4] Panitz JA. Field desorption spectrometer. 1975.

[5] Cerezo A, Godfrey TJ, Smith GDW. Application of a position-sensitive detector to atom probe microanalysis. Review of Scientific Instruments 1988;59:862-6.

[6] Miller MK. Atom probe tomography: Analysis at the atomic level2000.

[7] Blavette D, Cadel E, Fraczkiewicz A, Menand A. Three-dimensional atomic-scale imaging of impurity segregation to line defects. Science 1999;286:2317-9.

[8] Perea DE, Hemesath ER, Schwalbach EJ, Lensch-Falk JL, Voorhees PW, Lauhon LJ. Direct measurement of dopant distribution in an individual vapour-liquid-solid nanowire. Nature Nanotechnology 2009;4:315-9.

[9] Kruse N, Abend G, Block JH. The kinetics of adsorption and thermal desorption of NO on stepped Pt single crystal surfaces. The Journal of Chemical Physics 1988;88:1307-12.

[10] Ringer SP, Hono K. Microstructural evolution and age hardening in aluminium alloys: atom probe field-ion microscopy and transmission electron microscopy studies. Materials Characterization 2000;44:101-31.

[11] Valley JW, Cavosie AJ, Ushikubo T, Reinhard DA, Lawrence DF, Larson DJ, et al. Hadean age for a post-magma-ocean zircon confirmed by atom-probe tomography. Nature Geoscience 2014;7:219-23.

[12] Swanson LW, Schwind GA. Elelctron emission from a liquid metal. J Appl Phys 1978;49:5655-62.

[13] Li Z, Xu N, Kreuzer HJ. Coherent field emission image of graphene predicted with a microscopic theory. Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics 2012;85.

[14] Forbes RG, Edgcombe CJ, Valdrè U. Some comments on models for field enhancement. Ultramicroscopy 2003;95:57-65.