Scanning Electron Microscopy


We begin with a resume of the Bethe theory, which provides a general framework for discussing the inelastic scattering of fast electrons and leads to powerful criteria for judging the reliability of cross-section data. The central notion of the theory is the generalized oscillator strength as a function of both the energy transfer and the momentum transfer, and is the only non-trivial factor in the inelastic-scattering cross section. Although the Bethe theory was initially conceived for free atoms, its basic ideas apply to solids, with suitable generalizations; in this respect, the notion of the dielectric response function is the most fundamental. Topics selected for discussion include the generalized oscillator strengths for the K-shell and L-shell ionization for all atoms with Z ≤ 30, evaluated by use of the Hartree-Slater potential. As a function of the energy transfer, the generalized oscillator strength most often shows a non-monotonic structure near the K-shell and L-shell thresholds, which has been interpreted as manifestations of electron-wave propagation through atomic fields. For molecules and solids, there are additional structures due to the scattering of ejected electrons by the fields of other atoms.

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