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Electron Crystallographic Investigation of Crystals on the Mesostructural Scale

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 June 2021

Wenting Mao
School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Metal Matrix Composites, Shanghai Key Laboratory for Molecular Engineering of Chiral Drugs, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai200240, China
Chao Bao
School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Metal Matrix Composites, Shanghai Key Laboratory for Molecular Engineering of Chiral Drugs, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai200240, China
Lu Han*
School of Chemical Science and Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai200092, China
*Corresponding author: Lu Han, E-mail:
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The precise structural solution of crystals on a mesostructural scale is challenging due to the difficulties in obtaining electron diffraction and the complicated relationship between the crystal structure factors (CSFs) and the conventional underfocus phase-contrast transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images due to the large unit cell and the complex structures. Here, we present the structural investigation of mesostructured crystals via the combination of electron crystallographic Fourier synthesis and high-angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF-STEM) that only relies on the mass-thickness contrast. The three-dimensional electrostatic potential is reconstructed from the amplitudes and phases extracted from the Fourier transforms of the corresponding HAADF-STEM images and merged into a set of CSFs. This method is verified on silica scaffolds following a shifted double-diamond surface network with space group I41/amd. The results indicate that electron crystallography reconstruction by HAADF-STEM images is more suitable and accurate in determining the structure in comparison with conventional TEM electron crystallography reconstruction. This approach transfers the contrast of mesostructured crystals to images more accurately and the relationship between the Fourier transforms of HAADF-STEM images and the CSFs is more intuitive. It shows great advantages for the structural solution of crystals on the mesostructural scale.

Materials Science Applications
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Microscopy Society of America

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