Scattering and Diffraction


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

  1. Born, M and Wolf, E 1999 Principle of Optics 7th (yes, 7th!) Ed. Cambridge University Press New York. Perhaps the optics textbook in terms of classical treatments and number of editions.Google Scholar
  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
  4. Jones, IP 1992 Chemical Microanalysis Using Electron Beams The Institute of Materials London.Google Scholar
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  7. Wang, ZL 1995 Elastic and Inelastic Scattering in Electron Diffraction and Imaging Plenum Press New York. An in-depth treatment of scattering using a much more rigorous mathematical approach than in this chapter.Google Scholar


  1. We should have references to some of the founders of optics here, especially Abbe, Airy, Fraunhofer, and Fresnel, but we’ll leave you to chase those up in the optics texts.Google Scholar
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  3. Goodman, JW 2004 Introduction to Fourier Optics 3rd Ed. Roberts & Company Greenwood Village CO. An excellent source for the advanced student.Google Scholar
  4. Hecht, E 2003 Optics 4th Ed. Addison-Wesley Reading MA. A favorite.Google Scholar
  5. Klein, MV and Furtak, TE 1985 Optics 2nd Ed. Wiley & Sons New York NY. Not for the faint-hearted.Google Scholar
  6. Smith, FG and Thomson, JH 1988 Optics 2nd Ed. Wiley & Sons New York.Google Scholar
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Some Microanalysis and More

  1. Goldstein, JI, Newbury, DE, Joy, DC, Lyman, CE, Echlin, P, Lifshin, E, Sawyer, LC and Michael, JR 2003 Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-ray Microanalysis 3rd Ed. Kluwer New York.Google Scholar
  2. Joy, DC 1995 Monte Carlo Modeling for Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis Oxford University Press New York.Google Scholar
  3. Rhodes, R 1986 The Making of the Atomic Bomb Simon and Schuster New York. See p 282.Google Scholar
  4. Rhodes, R 1995 Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb Simon and Schuster New York. See p 423. These books are well worth reading because of both the historical and the scientific content.Google Scholar

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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