Ptychographic electron microscopy using high-angle dark-field scattering for sub-nanometre resolution imaging

Nat Commun. 2012 Mar 6;3:730. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1733.


Diffractive imaging, in which image-forming optics are replaced by an inverse computation using scattered intensity data, could, in principle, realize wavelength-scale resolution in a transmission electron microscope. However, to date all implementations of this approach have suffered from various experimental restrictions. Here we demonstrate a form of diffractive imaging that unshackles the image formation process from the constraints of electron optics, improving resolution over that of the lens used by a factor of five and showing for the first time that it is possible to recover the complex exit wave (in modulus and phase) at atomic resolution, over an unlimited field of view, using low-energy (30 keV) electrons. Our method, called electron ptychography, has no fundamental experimental boundaries: further development of this proof-of-principle could revolutionize sub-atomic scale transmission imaging.