In a scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM), a high-energy electron beam is focused to near-atomic dimensions and scanned over a thin specimen. In addition to generating images from the scattered electrons, one can simultaneously use an electron spectrometer to map the energy lost by the beam. Among the details energy-loss spectroscopy can reveal are elemental composition and chemical bonding, but the technique has traditionally suffered from poor energy resolution, typically because of fluctuations in the high voltage supplied to the electron source. Now researchers led by Ondrej Krivanek, an adjunct professor of physics at Arizona State University and president of Nion Co, which manufactures commercial STEMs, have ameliorated the problem. By implementing a newly designed monochromator that is immune to voltage variations, they achieve an energy spread of 9 meV, as shown here. That’s a nearly 30-fold improvement in energy resolution compared with the unfiltered beam and a 10-fold...
R. Mark Wilson; High-resolution imaging meets vibrational spectroscopy. Physics Today 1 December 2014; 67 (12): 22. https://doi.org/10.1063/PT.3.2611
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