skip to main content


Title: Design of Electrostatic Aberration Correctors for Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy
In a scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM), producing a high-resolution image generally requires an electron beam focused to the smallest point possible. However, the magnetic lenses used to focus the beam are unavoidably imperfect, introducing aberrations that limit resolution. Modern STEMs overcome this by using hardware aberration correctors comprised of many multipole lenses, but these devices are complex, expensive, and can be difficult to tune. We demonstrate a design for an electrostatic phase plate that can act as an aberration corrector. The corrector is comprised of annular segments, each of which is an independent two-terminal device that can apply a constant or ramped phase shift to a portion of the electron beam. We show the improvement in image resolution using an electrostatic corrector. Engineering criteria impose that much of the beam within the probe-forming aperture be blocked by support bars, leading to large probe tails for the corrected probe that sample the specimen beyond the central lobe. We also show how this device can be used to create other STEM beam profiles such as vortex beams and beams with a high degree of phase diversity, which improve information transfer in ptychographic reconstructions.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1929356
NSF-PAR ID:
10432838
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Condensed matter
ISSN:
2410-3896
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    In a scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM), producing a high-resolution image generally requires an electron beam focused to the smallest point possible. However, the magnetic lenses used to focus the beam are unavoidably imperfect, introducing aberrations that limit resolution. Modern STEMs overcome this by using hardware aberration correctors comprised of many multipole elements, but these devices are complex, expensive, and can be difficult to tune. We demonstrate a design for an electrostatic phase plate that can act as an aberration corrector. The corrector is comprised of annular segments, each of which is an independent two-terminal device that can apply a constant or ramped phase shift to a portion of the electron beam. We show the improvement in image resolution using an electrostatic corrector. Engineering criteria impose that much of the beam within the probe-forming aperture be blocked by support bars, leading to large probe tails for the corrected probe that sample the specimen beyond the central lobe. We also show how this device can be used to create other STEM beam profiles such as vortex beams and probes with a high degree of phase diversity, which improve information transfer in ptychographic reconstructions.

     
    more » « less
  2. Subangstrom resolution has long been limited to aberration-corrected electron microscopy, where it is a powerful tool for understanding the atomic structure and properties of matter. Here, we demonstrate electron ptychography in an uncorrected scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) with deep subangstrom spatial resolution down to 0.44 angstroms, exceeding the conventional resolution of aberration-corrected tools and rivaling their highest ptychographic resolutions​. Our approach, which we demonstrate on twisted two-dimensional materials in a widely available commercial microscope, far surpasses prior ptychographic resolutions (1 to 5 angstroms) of uncorrected STEMs. We further show how geometric aberrations can create optimized, structured beams for dose-efficient electron ptychography. Our results demonstrate that expensive aberration correctors are no longer required for deep subangstrom resolution.

     
    more » « less
  3. The implementation of aberration-corrected electron beam lithography (AC-EBL) in a 200 keV scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) is a novel technique that could be used for the fabrication of quantum devices based on 2D atomic crystals with single nanometer critical dimensions, allowing to observe more robust quantum effects. In this work we study electron beam sculpturing of nanostructures on suspended graphene field effect transistors using AC-EBL, focusing on the in situ characterization of the impact of electron beam exposure on device electronic transport quality. When AC-EBL is performed on a graphene channel (local exposure) or on the outside vicinity of a graphene channel (non-local exposure), the charge transport characteristics of graphene can be significantly affected due to charge doping and scattering. While the detrimental effect of non-local exposure can be largely removed by vigorous annealing, local-exposure induced damage is irreversible and cannot be fixed by annealing. We discuss the possible causes of the observed exposure effects. Our results provide guidance to the future development of high-energy electron beam lithography for nanomaterial device fabrication. 
    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
    Investigating the earliest stages of crystallization requires the transmission electron microscope (TEM) and is particularly challenging for materials which can be affected by the electron beam. Typically, when imaging at magnifications high enough to observe local crystallinity, the electron beam's current density must be high to produce adequate image contrast. Yet, minimizing the electron dose is necessary to reduce the changes caused by the beam. With the advent of a sensitive, high-speed, direct-detection camera for a TEM that is corrected for spherical aberration, it is possible to probe the early stages of crystallization at the atomic scale. High-quality images with low contrast can now be analyzed using new computing methods. In the present paper, this approach is illustrated for crystallization in a Ge 2 Sb 2 Te 5 (GST-225) phase-change material which can undergo particularly rapid phase transformations and is sensitive to the electron beam. A thin (20 nm) film of GST-225 has been directly imaged in the TEM and the low-dose images processed using Python scripting to extract details of the nanoscale nuclei. Quantitative analysis of the processed images in a video sequence also allows the growth of such nuclei to be followed. 
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    Although scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) images of individual heavy atoms were reported 50 years ago, the applications of atomic-resolution STEM imaging became wide spread only after the practical realization of aberration correctors on field-emission STEM/TEM instruments to form sub-Ångstrom electron probes. The innovative designs and advances of electron optical systems, the fundamental understanding of electron–specimen interaction processes, and the advances in detector technology all played a major role in achieving the goal of atomic-resolution STEM imaging of practical materials. It is clear that tremendous advances in computer technology and electronics, image acquisition and processing algorithms, image simulations, and precision machining synergistically made atomic-resolution STEM imaging routinely accessible. It is anticipated that further hardware/software development is needed to achieve three-dimensional atomic-resolution STEM imaging with single-atom chemical sensitivity, even for electron-beam-sensitive materials. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big-data science are expected to significantly enhance the impact of STEM and associated techniques on many research fields such as materials science and engineering, quantum and nanoscale science, physics and chemistry, and biology and medicine. This review focuses on advances of STEM imaging from the invention of the field-emission electron gun to the realization of aberration-corrected and monochromated atomic-resolution STEM and its broad applications. 
    more » « less