High-Resolution TEM

  • David B. Williams
  • C. Barry Carter


We will now rethink what we mean by a TEM, in a way that is more suitable for HRTEM, where the purpose is to maximize the useful detail in the image. (Note the word useful here.) You should think of the microscope as an optical device that transfers information from the specimen to the image. The optics consists of a series of lenses and apertures aligned along the optic (symmetry) axis. What we would like to do is to transfer all the information from the specimen to the image, a process known as mapping. There are two problems to overcome and we can never be completely successful in transferring all the information. First, as you know from Chapter 6, the lens system is not perfect so the image is distorted and you lose some data because the lens has a finite size (Abbe’s theory). The second problem is we have to interpret the image using an atomistic model for the material.


Transfer Function Objective Lens HRTEM Image High Spatial Frequency Spherical Aberration 
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  1. One of the pioneers in the interpretation of HRTEM images was the late John Cowley. Much of our analysis of the specimen transfer function, f(x,y), follows directly from his teaching. When pronouncing names, don’t confuse Lord Rayleigh (born John William Strutt) with Walter Raleigh. Otto Scherzer was professor in Darmstadt and actually built an aberration corrector for his TEM. He was succeeded at Darmstadt by Harald Rose who with his former student, Max Haidar, made aberration correction work for the rest of us. Ondrej Krivanek and Nicolas Delby did the same for STEMs. Articles by Shannon and Weaver 1964, Van Dyck 1992 on information theory will start you on this topic; for HRTEM, you must then have access to John Spence’s book.Google Scholar

Essential Further Reading

  1. Buseck, PR, Cowley, JM and Eyring, L Eds. 1988 High-Resolution Electron Microscopy and Associated Techniques, Oxford University Press New York.Google Scholar
  2. Horiuchi, S 1994 Fundamentals of High-Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy, North-Holland Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  3. Spence, JCH 2003 High-Resolution Electron Microscopy, 3rd Ed., Oxford University Press New York.Google Scholar

New Insights

  1. Haider, M, Müler, H, Uhlemann, S., Zach, J, Loebau, U and Hoeschen, R 2008 Prerequisites for a Cc/Cs-Corrected Ultrahigh-Resolution TEM Ultramicrosc. 108 167–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Hawkes, PW 1980 Units and Conventions in Electron Microscopy, for Use in Ultramicroscopy Ultramicrosc. 5, 67–70. An enjoyable and informative diversion. Includes definitions of the Glaeser and the Scherzer units (very non-SI).Google Scholar
  3. Vladár, AE, Postek, MT, and Davilla, SD 1995 Is Your Scanning Electron Microscope Hi-Fi? Scanning 17, 287–295. Looks at the SEM as a hi-fi instrument.Google Scholar


  1. Coene, W and Janssen, AJEM 1992 in Signal and Image Processing in Microscopy and Microanalysis, Scanning Microscopy Supplement 6 (Ed. PW Hawkes), p. 379, SEM inc. O’Hare IL.Google Scholar
  2. Lichte, H 1991 Optimum Focus for Taking Electron Holograms Ultramicrosc. 38, 13–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Information Limit and Information Theory

  1. Van Dyck, D 1992 in Electron Microscopy in Materials Science, p 193, World Scientific, River Edge New Jersey. Gives more detail on the derivation of equations 28.19 and 28.55 and on information theory for the TEM.Google Scholar
  2. Van Dyck, D and De Jong, AF 1992 Ultimate Resolution and Information in Electron Microscopy: General Principles Ultramicrosc., 47 266–281. On the information limit—part 1.Google Scholar
  3. de Jong, AF and Van Dyck, D 1993 Ultimate Resolution and Information in Electron Microscopy. II. The Information Limit of Transmission Electron Microscopes Ultramicrosc. 49, 66–80. On the information limit—part 2.Google Scholar
  4. Shannon, CE and Weaver, W 1964 The Mathematical Theory of Communication, University of Illinois Press Urbana IL. Early text on information theory.Google Scholar

More Theory

  1. Cowley, JM 1992 in Electron Diffraction Techniques 1, (Ed. JM Cowley), p. 1, IUCr. Oxford Science Publication. More extensive discussion of equations 28.20 and 28.21.Google Scholar
  2. Cowley, JM 1995 Diffraction Physics, 3rd edition, North-Holland, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  3. Fejes, PL 1977 Approximations for the Calculation of High-Resolution Electron-Microscope Images of Thin Films Acta Cryst. A33, 109–113.Google Scholar
  4. Hall, CE 1983 Introduction to Electron Microscopy, Krieger New York. An early clear discussion of other lens aberrations.Google Scholar
  5. Hashimoto H and Endoh H 1978 in Electron Diffraction 1927–1977, (Eds. PJ Dobson, JB Pendry and CJ Humphreys), p. 188, IoP, Bristol. The aberration-free focus paper.Google Scholar
  6. Otten, MT and Coene, WMJ 1993 High-Resolution Imaging on a Field Emission TEM Ultramicrosc. 48, 77–91. Some practical difficulties, including the use of the wobbler, when using FEGs.Google Scholar
  7. Rose, H 1990 Outline of a Spherically Corrected Semiaplanatic Medium-Voltage Transmission Electron Microscope Optik 85, 19–24. One of two early articles by the father of today’s aberration correctors.Google Scholar
  8. Rose, H 1991 in High Resolution Electron Microscopy: Fundamentals and Applications. (Eds. J. Heydenreich and W Neumann), p. 6, Institut für Festkörperphysik und Elektronmikroskopie, Halle/Salle, Germany.Google Scholar
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Materials Applications

  1. Amelinckx, S, Milat, O and Van Tendeloo, G 1993 Selective Imaging of Sublattices in Complex Structures Ultramicrosc. 51, 90–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bailey, SJ 1977 Report of the International Mineralogical Association (IMA)-International Union of Crystallography (IUCr) Joint Committee on Nomenclature Acta Cryst. A33, 681–684. Definitions of polytypes, polytypoids, etc.Google Scholar
  3. Butler, EP and Thomas, G 1970 Structure and Properties of Spinodally Decomposed Cu-Ni-Fe Alloys Acta Met. 18, 347–365. Classic study of DPs from spinodal decomposition.Google Scholar
  4. Carter, CB, Elgat, Z and Shaw, TM 1986 Twin Boundaries Parallel to the Common-{111} Plane in Spinel Phil. Mag. A55, 1–19. Early study of spinel showing that you don’t always need the highest resolution. See also p21–38.Google Scholar
  5. Nissen H-U, and Beeli, C 1991 in High Resolution Electron Microscopy: Fundamentals and Applications, (Eds. J Heydenreich and W Neumann) p. 272, Institut für Festkörperphysik und Elektronmikroskopie Halle/Salle Germany. HRTEM from quasicrystals (Figure 28.22).Google Scholar
  6. Parsons, JR, Johnson, HM, Hoelke, CW and Hosbons, RR 1973 Imaging of Uranium Atoms with the Electron Microscope by Phase Contrast Phil. Mag. 29, 1359–1368. Individual Pt atoms in 1973!Google Scholar
  7. Rasmussen, DR, Summerfelt, SR, McKernan, S and Carter, CB 1995 Imaging Small Spinel Particles in an NiO Matrix J. Microsc. 179, 77–89.Google Scholar
  8. Van Landuyt, J, Van Tendeloo, G and Amelinckx, S 1991 in High Resolution Electron Microscopy: Fundamentals and Applications, (Eds. J Heydenreich and W Neumann), p. 254, Institut für Festkörperphysik und Elektronmikroskopie Halle/Salle Germany.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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