A high-speed area detector for novel imaging techniques in a scanning transmission electron microscope

Ultramicroscopy. 2009 Mar;109(4):304-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ultramic.2008.11.023. Epub 2008 Dec 7.


A scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) produces a convergent beam electron diffraction pattern at each position of a raster scan with a focused electron beam, but recording this information poses major challenges for gathering and storing such large data sets in a timely manner and with sufficient dynamic range. To investigate the crystalline structure of materials, a 16x16 analog pixel array detector (PAD) is used to replace the traditional detectors and retain the diffraction information at every STEM raster position. The PAD, unlike a charge-coupled device (CCD) or photomultiplier tube (PMT), directly images 120-200keV electrons with relatively little radiation damage, exhibits no afterglow and limits crosstalk between adjacent pixels. Traditional STEM imaging modes can still be performed by the PAD with a 1.1kHz frame rate, which allows post-acquisition control over imaging conditions and enables novel imaging techniques based on the retained crystalline information. Techniques for rapid, semi-automatic crystal grain segmentation with sub-nanometer resolution are described using cross-correlation, sub-region integration, and other post-processing methods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.