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 the 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 didn’t scatter, then there would be no mechanism to create TEM images or diffraction patterns 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 Differential Cross Section Inelastic Scattering Direct Beam Electron Scattering 
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General References

  1. Fishbane, P.M., Gasiorowicz, S., and Thornton, S.T. (1993) Physics for Scientists and Engineers, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  2. Goodman, J.W. (1968) Introduction to Fourier Optics,McGraw-Hill, New York. Reissued in 1988 and an excellent source for the advanced student.Google Scholar
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Specific References

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • David B. Williams
    • 1
  • C. Barry Carter
    • 2
  1. 1.Lehigh UniversityBethlehemUSA
  2. 2.University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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