The enhancement of electron microscope resolution by use of atomic focusers

J. M. Cowley, John Spence, Valery V. Smirnov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


It is confirmed by computer simulation that, when an electron beam of energy 100-400 keV passes through a single heavy atom, or a row of atoms parallel to the beam (an 'atomic focuser'), a very fine beam of diameter less than 0.05 nm, is formed in the region within 1 or 2 nm of the atomic focuser. This very line beam may be used in scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) or in conventional transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to give image resolutions of the order of 0.05 nm if the specimen is held within 1 or 2 nm of the atomic focuser and translated with respect to it by means of, for example, a piezoelectric manipulator system such as that used for atomic probe microscopies. If a thin crystal is made to act as a multiple atomic focuser and the specimen is placed at a Fourier image distance from the crystal, the relative translations of the specimen and the atomic focuser may be more simply achieved by varying the angle of incidence for TEM or the angle of detection for STEM. The achievement of the enhanced resolution with several schemes involving relatively minor modifications of existing TEM or STEM instruments appears to be feasible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-148
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 15 1997


  • Electron microscope design and characterization
  • High resolution transmission electron microscopy
  • Scanning transmission electron microscopy
  • Specimen preparation and handling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation


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