Scanning Microscopy


Z-contrast scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) with a high-angle annular detector breaks the coherence of the imaging process, and provides an incoherent image of a crystal projection. Even in the presence of strong dynamical diffraction, the image can be accurately described as a convolution between an object function, sharply peaked at the projected atomic sites, and the probe intensity profile. Such an image can be inverted intuitively without the need for model structures, and therefore provides the important capability to reveal unanticipated interfacial arrangements. It represents a direct image of the crystal projection, revealing the location of the atomic columns and their relative high-angle scattering power. Since no phase is associated with a peak in the object function or the contrast transfer function, extension to higher resolution is also straightforward. Image restoration techniques such as maximum entropy, in conjunction with the 1.3 A probe anticipated for a 300 kV STEM, appear to provide a simple and robust route to the achievement of sub-Angstrom resolution electron microscopy.

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