Energy-filtering TEM at high magnification: spatial resolution and detection limits.


Energy-filtering TEM (EFTEM) has turned out to be a very efficient and rapid tool for the chemical characterization of a specimen on a nanometer and even subnanometer length scale. Especially, the detection and measurement of very thin layers has become a great application of this technique in many materials science fields, e.g. semiconductors and hard disk technology. There, the reliability of compositional profiles is an important issue. However, the experimentally obtainable spatial resolution strongly influences the appearance of a thin layer in an EFTEM image, when dimensions reach subnanometer levels, which mainly leads to a broadening of the layer in the image. This fact has to be taken into account, when measuring the thickness of such a thin layer. Additionally, the convolution decreases contrast which makes the layer less visible in the image and finally determines the detection limit. In this work we present a systematic study on specifically designed Mn/PdMn multilayer test specimens to explore the practical aspects of spatial resolution and detection limits in EFTEM. Although specific to the ionization edges used, we will present general conclusions about the practical limitations in terms of EFTEM spatial resolution. Additionally, work will be shown about low energy-loss imaging of thin oxide layers, where delocalization is the main factor responsible for broadening.

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@article{Grogger2003EnergyfilteringTA, title={Energy-filtering TEM at high magnification: spatial resolution and detection limits.}, author={W. Grogger and Bernhard Schaffer and Kannan M. Krishnan and Ferdinand Hofer}, journal={Ultramicroscopy}, year={2003}, volume={96 3-4}, pages={481-9} }