A recently developed technique based on the transmission electron microscope, which makes use of electron beam precession together with spot diffraction pattern recognition now offers the possibility to acquire reliable orientation/phase maps with a spatial resolution down to 2 nm on a field emission gun transmission electron microscope. The technique may be described as precession-assisted crystal orientation mapping in the transmission electron microscope, precession-assisted crystal orientation mapping technique-transmission electron microscope, also known by its product name, ASTAR, and consists in scanning the precessed electron beam in nanoprobe mode over the specimen area, thus producing a collection of precession electron diffraction spot patterns, to be thereafter indexed automatically through template matching. We present a review on several application examples relative to the characterization of microstructure/microtexture of nanocrystalline metals, ceramics, nanoparticles, minerals and organics. The strengths and limitations of the technique are also discussed using several application examples.
Keywords: Precession-assisted crystal orientation mapping; TEM orientation and phase mapping; precession electron diffraction.
©2013 The Authors. Journal of Microscopy published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal Microscopical Society.