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  1. Abstract

    Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is essential for determining atomic scale structures in structural biology and materials science. In structural biology, three-dimensional structures of proteins are routinely determined from thousands of identical particles using phase-contrast TEM. In materials science, three-dimensional atomic structures of complex nanomaterials have been determined using atomic electron tomography (AET). However, neither of these methods can determine the three-dimensional atomic structure of heterogeneous nanomaterials containing light elements. Here, we perform ptychographic electron tomography from 34.5 million diffraction patterns to reconstruct an atomic resolution tilt series of a double wall-carbon nanotube (DW-CNT) encapsulating a complex ZrTe sandwich structure. Class averaging the resulting tilt series images and subpixel localization of the atomic peaks reveals a Zr11Te50structure containing a previously unobserved ZrTe2phase in the core. The experimental realization of atomic resolution ptychographic electron tomography will allow for the structural determination of a wide range of beam-sensitive nanomaterials containing light elements.

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