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, 99 (4), 247-56

Low-voltage Electron Microscopy of Polymer and Organic Molecular Thin Films


Low-voltage Electron Microscopy of Polymer and Organic Molecular Thin Films

Lawrence F Drummy et al. Ultramicroscopy.


We have demonstrated the capabilities of a novel low-voltage electron microscope (LVEM) for imaging polymer and organic molecular thin films. The LVEM can operate in transmission electron microscopy, scanning transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and electron diffraction modes. The microscope operates at a nominal accelerating voltage of 5 kV and fits on a tabletop. A detailed discussion of the electron-sample interaction processes is presented, and the mean free path for total electron scattering was calculated to be 15 nm for organic samples at 5 kV. The total end point dose for the destruction of crystallinity at 5 kV was estimated at 5 x 10(-4) and 3.5 x 10(-2) C/cm2 for polyethylene and pentacene, respectively. These values are significantly lower than those measured at voltages greater than 100 kV. A defocus series of colloidal gold particles allowed us to estimate the experimental contrast transfer function of the microscope. Images taken of several organic materials have shown high contrast for low atomic number elements and a resolution of 2.5 nm. The materials studied here include thin films of the organic semiconductor pentacene, triblock copolymer films, single-molecule dendrimers, electrospun polymer fibers and gold nanoparticles.

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