Scattering and Diffraction

  • David B. Williams
  • C. Barry Carter


The electron is a low-mass, negatively charged particle. As such, it can easily be deflected by passing close to other electrons or the positive nucleus of an atom. These Coulomb (electrostatic) interactions cause electron scattering, which is the process that makes TEM feasible. We will also discuss how the wave nature of the electron gives rise to diffraction effects. What we can already say is that if the electrons weren’t scattered, there would be no mechanism to create TEM images or DPs and no source of spectroscopic data. So it is essential to understand both the particle approach and the wave approach to electron scattering in order to be able to interpret all the information that comes from a TEM. Electron scattering from materials is a reasonably complex area of physics, but it isn’t necessary to develop a detailed comprehension of scattering theory to be a competent microscopist.


Elastic Scattering Inelastic Scattering Direct Beam Electron Scattering Scattered Wave 
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Scattering and Cross Sections

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  2. Heidenreich, RD 1964 Fundamentals of Transmission Electron Microscope Interscience Publisher New York NY.Google Scholar
  3. Jones 1992 gives a succinct introduction to scattering and Newbury (1986) gives a clear exposition on the units of cross sections. If you want to see a fuller description, read Wang (1995). If you're a glutton for punishment, the classic text is by Mott and Massey (1965) as we’ve already mentioned. You should realize that we’ve introduced you to some of the giants of electron optics, e.g., Airy, Fresnel, and Fraunhofer, who never knew about electron waves.Google Scholar
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Some Microanalysis and More

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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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