Microscopy and Microanalysis

Materials Applications

Detection of Single Atoms and Buried Defects in Three Dimensions by Aberration-Corrected Electron Microscope with 0.5-Å Information Limit

C. Kisielowskia1, B. Freitaga5, M. Bischoffa5, H. van Lina5, S. Lazara5, G. Knippelsa5, P. Tiemeijera5, M. van der Stama5, S. von Harracha5, M. Stekelenburga5, M. Haidera6, S. Uhlemanna6, H. Müllera6, P. Hartela6, B. Kabiusa2, D. Millera2, I. Petrova3, E.A. Olsona3, T. Doncheva3, E.A. Kenika4, A.R. Lupinia4, J. Bentleya4, S.J. Pennycooka4, I.M. Andersona4, A.M. Minora1, A.K. Schmida1, T. Dudena1, V. Radmilovica1, Q.M. Ramassea1, M. Watanabea1, R. Ernia1, E.A. Stacha1, P. Denesa1 and U. Dahmena1 c1

a1 National Center for Electron Microscopy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, One Cyclotron Rd., Berkeley, CA 94720, USA

a2 Argonne National Laboratory, Electron Microscopy Center, Argonne, IL 10329, USA

a3 Center for Microanalysis of Materials, University of Illinois, 104 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801, USA

a4 Materials Science and Technology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, P.O. Box 2008, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA

a5 FEI Company, Eindhoven, Building AAE, Achtseweg Noord 5, P.O. Box 80066, 5600 KA Eindhoven, The Netherlands

a6 CEOS GmbH, Englerstr. 28, D-69126 Heidelberg, Germany


The ability of electron microscopes to analyze all the atoms in individual nanostructures is limited by lens aberrations. However, recent advances in aberration-correcting electron optics have led to greatly enhanced instrument performance and new techniques of electron microscopy. The development of an ultrastable electron microscope with aberration-correcting optics and a monochromated high-brightness source has significantly improved instrument resolution and contrast. In the present work, we report information transfer beyond 50 pm and show images of single gold atoms with a signal-to-noise ratio as large as 10. The instrument's new capabilities were exploited to detect a buried Σ3 {112} grain boundary and observe the dynamic arrangements of single atoms and atom pairs with sub-angstrom resolution. These results mark an important step toward meeting the challenge of determining the three-dimensional atomic-scale structure of nanomaterials.

(Received July 09 2008)

(Accepted July 23 2008)


c1 Corresponding Author. E-mail: UDahmen@lbl.gov