Looking inside the glass

A team of researchers from the Institute of Industrial Science at The University of Tokyo used advanced electron spectroscopy and computer simulations to better understand the internal atomic structure of aluminosilicate ...

Researchers demonstrate attosecond boost for electron microscopy

A team of physicists from the University of Konstanz and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in Germany have achieved attosecond time resolution in a transmission electron microscope by combining it with a continuous-wave ...

Phasing out a microscope's tricks

An instrument error can lead to complete misidentification of certain crystals, reports a KAUST study that suggests researchers need to exercise caution when using electron microscopes to probe two-dimensional (2-D) semiconductors.

Exploring oxidative pathways in nuclear fuel

Powerful atomic-resolution instruments and techniques at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) are revealing new information about the interaction of uranium dioxide (UO2) with water. These new insights will improve ...

Sulfur provides promising 'next-gen' battery alternative

With the increasing demand for affordable and sustainable energy, the ongoing development of batteries with a high energy density is vital. Lithium-sulfur batteries have attracted the attention of academic researchers and ...

An iron-clad asteroid

Itokawa would normally be a fairly average near-Earth asteroid—a rocky mass measuring only a few hundred metres in diameter, which orbits the sun amid countless other celestial bodies and repeatedly crosses the orbit of ...

Breaking the temperature barrier in small-scale materials testing

Researchers have demonstrated a new method for testing microscopic aeronautical materials at ultra-high temperatures. By combining electron microscopy and laser heating, scientists can evaluate these materials much more quickly ...

First view of hydrogen at the metal-to-metal hydride interface

University of Groningen physicists have visualized hydrogen at the titanium/titanium hydride interface using a transmission electron microscope. Using a new technique, they succeeded in visualizing both the metal and the ...

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Transmission electron microscopy

Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is a microscopy technique whereby a beam of electrons is transmitted through an ultra thin specimen, interacting with the specimen as it passes through. An image is formed from the interaction of the electrons transmitted through the specimen; the image is magnified and focused onto an imaging device, such as a fluorescent screen, on a layer of photographic film, or to be detected by a sensor such as a CCD camera.

TEMs are capable of imaging at a significantly higher resolution than light microscopes, owing to the small de Broglie wavelength of electrons. This enables the instrument to be able to examine fine detail—even as small as a single column of atoms, which is tens of thousands times smaller than the smallest resolvable object in a light microscope. TEM forms a major analysis method in a range of scientific fields, in both physical and biological sciences. TEMs find application in cancer research, virology, materials science as well as pollution and semiconductor research.

At smaller magnifications TEM image contrast is due to absorption of electrons in the material, due to the thickness and composition of the material. At higher magnifications complex wave interactions modulate the intensity of the image, requiring expert analysis of observed images. Alternate modes of use allow for the TEM to observe modulations in chemical identity, crystal orientation, electronic structure and sample induced electron phase shift as well as the regular absorption based imaging.

The first TEM was built by Max Knoll and Ernst Ruska in 1931, with this group developing the first TEM with resolving power greater than that of light in 1933 and the first commercial TEM in 1939.

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