Low energy electron point source microscopy: beyond imaging

J Phys Condens Matter. 2010 Sep 1;22(34):343001. doi: 10.1088/0953-8984/22/34/343001. Epub 2010 Aug 10.


Low energy electron point source (LEEPS) microscopy has the capability to record in-line holograms at very high magnifications with a fairly simple set-up. After the holograms are numerically reconstructed, structural features with the size of about 2 nm can be resolved. The achievement of an even higher resolution has been predicted. However, a number of obstacles are known to impede the realization of this goal, for example the presence of electric fields around the imaged object, electrostatic charging or radiation induced processes. This topical review gives an overview of the achievements as well as the difficulties in the efforts to shift the resolution limit of LEEPS microscopy towards the atomic level. A special emphasis is laid on the high sensitivity of low energy electrons to electrical fields, which limits the structural determination of the imaged objects. On the other hand, the investigation of the electrical field around objects of known structure is very useful for other tasks and LEEPS microscopy can be extended beyond the task of imaging. The determination of the electrical resistance of individual nanowires can be achieved by a proper analysis of the corresponding LEEPS micrographs. This conductivity imaging may be a very useful application for LEEPS microscopes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Electromagnetic Fields
  • Electrons*
  • Equipment Design
  • Holography / methods
  • Microscopy / instrumentation*
  • Microscopy / methods*
  • Models, Chemical
  • Models, Statistical
  • Normal Distribution
  • Physics / methods