The Transmission Electron Microscope

  • David B. Williams
  • C. Barry Carter


A typical commercial transmission electron microscope (TEM) costs about $5 for each electron volt (eV) of energy in the beam and, if you add on all available options, it can easily cost up to $10 per eV. As you’ll see, we use beam energies in the range from 100,000 to 400,000 eV, so a TEMis an extremely expensive piece of equipment. Consequently, there have to be very sound scientific reasons for investing such a large amount of money in onemicroscope. In this chapter (which is just a brief overview of many of the concepts that we’ll talk about in detail throughout the book) we start by introducing you to some of the historical development of the TEM because the history is intertwined with some of the reasons why you need to use a TEM to characterize materials. Other reasons for using a TEM have appeared as the instrument continues to develop, to the point where it can seriously be claimed that no other scientific instrument exists which can offer such a broad range of characterization techniques with such high spatial and analytical resolution, coupled with a completely quantitative understanding of the various techniques.


Transmission Electron Microscope Transmission Electron Microscope Image Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy Transmission Electron Microscope Specimen 
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General TEM Books

  1. Amelinckx, S, van Dyck, D, van Landuyt, J and van Tendeloo, G (Eds.) 1997 Electron Microscopy: Principles and Fundamentals VCH Weinheim Germany. An expensive text containing review articles by leading microscopists covering TEM and much more. A good overview to put TEM in context, but make sure your library buys this along with the even more expensive Handbook of Microscopy: Applications in Materials Science, Solid State Physics and Chemistry edited by the same authors and published by VCH in 1997.Google Scholar
  2. DeGraef, M 2003 Introduction to Conventional Transmission Microscopy Cambridge University Press New York. A complementary text to this one, in many ways. It uses different materials specimens as a thread to introduce different techniques. Supported by an excellent Web site ( but not really an introduction!
  3. Edington, JW 1976 Practical Electron Microscopy in Materials Science Van Nostrand-Reinhold New York. The original out-of-print 1976 edition has been reprinted by TechBooks, 2600 Seskey Glen Court, Herndon, VA 22071. A very helpful, if outdated, text full of examples and hands-on operations; no AEM or HREM, just diffraction-based imaging.Google Scholar
  4. Egerton, RF 2006 Physical Principles of Electron Microscopy; An Introduction to TEM, SEM, and AEM Springer New York. If you need a general introduction to EM, this is a good choice.Google Scholar
  5. Ernst, F and Rühle, M (Eds.) 2003 High-Resolution Imaging and Spectrometry of Materials Springer Series in Materials Science 50 Springer Berlin. A collection of review articles covering some aspects of TEM and other high-resolution techniques.Google Scholar
  6. Fultz, B and Howe, JM 2002 Transmission Electron Microscopy and Diffractometry of Materials 2nd Ed. Springer New York. A broad-based text emphasizing diffraction-based imaging and crystallography via studies with X-ray and electrons.Google Scholar
  7. Goodhew, PJ, Humphreys, FJ and Beanland, R 2001 Electron Microscopy and Analysis 3rd Ed. Taylor & Francis New York. A succinct summary of SEM, TEM, and AEM.Google Scholar
  8. Hall, CE 1953 Introduction to Electron Microscopy McGraw-Hill New York. A wonderful but nowadays neglected book. The level is very close to this text. Historically minded students will enjoy the preface.Google Scholar
  9. Hawkes, PW and Spence, JCH (Eds.) 2007 Science of Microscopy Springer New York. Comprehensive, up-to-date, multi-author review of many forms of microscopy. Get your library to buy it.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Heidenreich, RD 1964 Fundamentals of Transmission Electron Microscopy Interscience Publisher New York NY. Another wonderful, but sometimes forgotten, classic.Google Scholar
  11. Hirsch, PB, Howie, A, Nicholson, RB, Pashley, DW and Whelan, MJ 1977 Electron Microscopy of Thin Crystals 2nd Ed. Krieger Huntington NY. For many years, the ‘Bible’ for TEM users and still required reading for true TEM converts!Google Scholar
  12. Marton, L 1968 Early History of the Electron Microscope San Francisco Press San Francisco.Google Scholar
  13. McLaren, AC 1991 Transmission Electron Microscopy of Minerals and Rocks Cambridge University Press New York. Invaluable for the geologist or ceramist.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  18. Watt, IM 1997 The Principles and Practice of Electron Microscopy 2nd Ed. CUP New York NY. A basic, practical introduction to SEM and TEM.Google Scholar
  19. Wenk, H-R 1976 Electron Microscopy in Mineralogy Springer New York NY. Required reading for microscopy of geological or ceramic materials. From the library.Google Scholar
  20. Yao, N and Wang, ZL 2005 Microscopy for Nanotechnology Kluwer New York. In-depth review articles on techniques for nano-characterization. Half of the 22 chapters are devoted to EM methods and more than 80% of those are TEM.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Specialized TEM Books

  1. Ahn, CC (Ed.) 2004 Transmission Electron Energy Loss Spectrometry in Materials Science and the EELS Atlas 2nd Ed. Wiley-VCH Berlin. An excellent, in-depth review of EELS and the best database for ionization-edge energies.Google Scholar
  2. Brydson, R 2001 Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy Bios (Royal Microsc. Soc.) Oxford UK. You must read this before going on to Egerton’s classic.Google Scholar
  3. Champness, PE 2001 Electron Diffraction in the TEM Bios (Royal Microsc. Soc.) Oxford UK. Outstanding, essential introductory text by a crystallographer who also knows TEM.Google Scholar
  4. Cowley, JM (Ed.) 1992 Electron Diffraction Techniques Vols. 1 and 2 Oxford University Press New York. Another collection of excellent individual review articles.Google Scholar
  5. Egerton, RF 1996 Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy in the Electron Microscope 2nd Ed. Plenum Press New York. The quintessential text for this aspect of AEM.Google Scholar
  6. Frank, J 1992 Electron Tomography Plenum Press New York. A biological EM text but the basis for much of what’s going to happen in TEM of materials.Google Scholar
  7. Garratt-Reed, AJ and Bell, DC 2002 Energy-Dispersive X-ray Analysis in the Electron Microscope Bios (Royal Microsc. Soc.) Oxford, UK. Basic introduction pitched at a similar level to this text.Google Scholar
  8. Hawkes, PW and Kasper, E 1989, 1994 Principles of Electron Optics Vols. 1–3 Academic Press New York, 1900 pp. Comprehensive but advanced. The third volume deals with many aspects of imaging in the TEM, simulation and processing with ˜118 pages of TEM references; an exceptional resource.Google Scholar
  9. Head, AK, Humble, P, Clarebrough, LM, Morton, AJ and Forwood, CT 1973 Computed Electron Micrographs and Defect Identification North-Holland New York NY. Long out of print but often referenced.Google Scholar
  10. Horiuchi, S 1994 Fundamentals of High-Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy North-Holland Amsterdam. As it says; a one topic book.Google Scholar
  11. Kirkland, EJ 1998 Advanced Computing in Electron Microscopy Plenum Press New York. Required reading for the mathematically inclined microscopist.Google Scholar
  12. Jones, IP 1992 Chemical Microanalysis Using Electron Beams Institute of Materials London. Great introduction to AEM with lots of calculations to introduce the principles of quantitative analysis.Google Scholar
  13. Loretto, MH 1994 Electron Beam Analysis of Materials 2nd Ed. Chapman and Hall New York. A concise overview of the subject.Google Scholar
  14. Royal Microscopical Society Handbook series: a broad range of introductory texts covering many aspects of TEM but also SEM and visible-light microscopy. Easy reading and not expensive (URL #5).Google Scholar
  15. Shindo, D and Oikawa, T 2002 Analytical Electron Microscopy for Materials Science Springer New York. Brief summary of X-ray and electron spectrometry.Google Scholar
  16. Spence, JCH 2003 High Resolution Electron Microscopy 3rd Ed. Oxford University Press New York. Practical HREM combined with lots of sound theory.Google Scholar
  17. Spence, JCH and Zuo, JM 1992 Electron Microdiffraction Plenum Press New York. Quantitative convergent-beam diffraction in great depth.Google Scholar
  18. Tonomura, A 1999 Electron Holography Springer New York. A good introduction.Google Scholar
  19. von Heimendahl, M 1980 Electron Microscopy of Materials Academic Press New York NY. An introductory-level text, no AEM or HRTEM component. From the library.Google Scholar
  20. Wang, ZL 1995 Elastic and Inelastic Scattering in Electron Diffraction and Imaging Plenum Press New York. Everything you ever need to know about scattering of electrons in the TEM.Google Scholar

The Companion Text

  1. Throughout this chapter and the rest of the text we will refer to the companion text. This new textbook is not a required reading for all students but does contain chapters on special topics that are only covered briefly in the present text.Google Scholar


  1. Advances in Imaging and Electron Physics Ed. PW Hawkes. Peter Hawkes is an editor, author, and historian without peer in the field of electron microscopy. Any text he edits or book he writes is worth reading. This journal merges two long-running serial journals Advances in Electronics and Electron Physics and Advances in Optical and Electron Microscopy. Reviews on particle optics at high and low energies, image science and digital image processing, electromagnetic-wave propagation, electron microscopy, and computing methods associated with all these topics. http//www.elsevier. com/wps/find/bookdescription.cws_home/711044/description#description.
  2. Journal of Electron Microscopy Official Journal of the Japanese Society for Microscopy, becoming a more widely appreciated resource now that the papers are all in English. Oxford University Press Oxford. http//
  3. Journal of Microscopy Official Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society, the International Society for Stereology, the Microscopical Society of Ireland, the Polish Society for Microscopy, and the Austrian Society for Electron Microscopy. Many groundbreaking papers in the TEM of materials have appeared in this journal despite the strong biological theme of many of the papers. Blackwell Publishing Ltd Oxford, UK. http//
  4. Micron The International Research and Review Journal for Microscopy. Elsevier Amsterdam The Netherlands. http//
  5. Microscopy and Microanalysis Official Journal of the Microscopy Society of America, Microbeam Analysis Society (USA), Microscopical Society of Canada/Société de Microscopie du Canada, Mexican Microscopy Society, Brazilian Society for Microscopy and Microanalysis, Venezuelan Society for Electron Microscopy, European Microbeam Analysis Society, Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Society. Has the largest circulation of any EM journal. Cambridge University Press New York NY. http//
  6. Microscopy, Microanalysis, Microstructure Official Journal of the Société Française des Microscopies. Publication continued by The European Physical Journal (Applied Physics) in 1998 since when it has lost much visibility, but there are key papers in here before 1998.Google Scholar
  7. Microscopy Research and Technique A place to publish your new techniques and methods for microscopy, specimen preparation, or any related aspect of TEM. John Wiley & Sons Hoboken NJ. http//
  8. Ultramicroscopy An international journal affiliated with multiple national societies, committed to the advancement of new methods, tools, and theories in microscopy, where much cutting-edge TEM research is published. Look out for Peter Hawkes’ occasional reviews of the state of the microscopy literature. Elsevier Amsterdam The Netherlands http//

Selected Conference Proceedings

  1. Asia-Pacific Electron Microscopy Conference organized by the Committee of Asia-Pacific Societies for Electron Microscopy (CAPSEM) every 4 years (2012).Google Scholar
  2. Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Society every 2 years (2010).Google Scholar
  3. Electron Microscopy and Analysis Group (EMAG), Institute of Physics, London, UK every 2 years (2011).Google Scholar
  4. European Microbeam Analysis Society every 2 years (2011).Google Scholar
  5. European Microscopy Congress organized by the European Microscopy Society, every 4 years (2012).Google Scholar
  6. Inter-American Congress for Electron Microscopy organized by Comité Interamericano De Sociedades De Microscopía Electrónica (CIASEM), every 2 years (2011).Google Scholar
  7. International Congress for Microscopy organized by the International Federation of Societies for Microscopy (IFSM), every 4 years (2010 in Rio de Janeiro). The world gathers here.Google Scholar
  8. International Union of Microbeam Analysis Societies every 4 years (2012).Google Scholar
  9. Japanese Society for Microscopy annually.Google Scholar
  10. Microscopy & Microanalysis combined meeting of the Microscopy Society of America, the Microbeam Analysis Society and occasionally others (including the Canadians); annually.Google Scholar

Useful Sources of Numerical Data and Constants

  1. Fischbeck, HJ and Fischbeck, KH 1987 Formulas, Facts and Constants 2nd Ed. Springer New York. An invaluable reference. SI units are described in Chapter 2. Relevant equations in Gaussian units are related to SI units on page 127.Google Scholar
  2. Jackson, AG 1991 Handbook for Crystallography for Electron Microscopists and Others Springer New York. Ideal for the microscopist but see the review by JA Eades Microsc. Res. Tech. 21 368.Google Scholar
  3. Kaye, GWC and Laby, TH 1986 Tables of Physical and Chemical Constants 15th Ed. This invaluable resource was first published in 1911 and is now online courtesy of the National Physical Laboratory (UK) (URL #2).Google Scholar

Specific References in Chapter 1

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Alabama in HuntsvilleHuntsvilleUSA
  2. 2.University of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

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