What is it about?

Electron microscopy allows us to see the atoms composing materials. However many materials have remained a challenge for electron microscopy to study at atomic resolution, as the energetic electrons used in the microscope travel a significant proportion of the speed of light and can damage materials. By using a computational imaging method with four dimensional data acquired using the latest camera technology we are now able to see structures more clearly using fewer electrons. The method is particularly beneficial for seeing light atoms elements such as O or Li located near heavy elements.

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Why is it important?

The atomic structure of materials determines their properties, and although it has been possible for many years to see the structure of robust materials many others damage too quickly to be seen at atomic resolution, especially when one wishes to see all of the atoms, including the light elements. Light elements play a crucial role in many technologically important materials such as oxides and Li battery materials, in which they can be hidden by the scattering of neighboring heavy elements.


This study is an expression of the power of computational imaging to take higher dimensional data containing great detail about the scattering of the electron microscope's beam of electrons as they pass through materials and provide images which solve some of the long standing deficiencies of the conventional imaging methodologies in high resolution transmission electron microscopy.

Timothy Pennycook
Universiteit Antwerpen

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Overcoming contrast reversals in focused probe ptychography of thick materials: An optimal pipeline for efficiently determining local atomic structure in materials science, Applied Physics Letters, August 2022, American Institute of Physics, DOI: 10.1063/5.0101895.
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