• Ramachandra R, Demers H, De Jonge N. The influence of the sample thickness on the lateral and axial resolution of aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy. Microscopy and microanalysis : the official journal of Microscopy Society of America, Microbeam Analysis Society, Microscopical Society of Canada. 2013 Feb;19(1). 93-101. PMID: 23290505 [PubMed].


The lateral and axial resolution of three-dimensional (3D) focal series aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy was studied for samples of different thicknesses. The samples consisted of gold nanoparticles placed on the top and at the bottom of silicon nitride membranes of thickness between 50 and 500 nm. Atomic resolution was obtained for nanoparticles on top of 50-, 100-, and 200-nm-thick membranes with respect to the electron beam traveling downward. Atomic resolution was also achieved for nanoparticles placed below 50-, 100-, and 200-nm-thick membranes but with a lower contrast at the larger thicknesses. Beam broadening led to a reduced resolution for a 500-nm-thick membrane. The influence of the beam broadening on the axial resolution was also studied using Monte Carlo simulations with a 3D sample geometry.