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Extended Depth of Field for High-Resolution Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy

  • Robert Hovden (a1), Huolin L. Xin (a2) and David A. Muller (a1) (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 02 December 2010

Aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopes (STEMs) provide sub-Angstrom lateral resolution; however, the large convergence angle greatly reduces the depth of field. For microscopes with a small depth of field, information outside of the focal plane quickly becomes blurred and less defined. It may not be possible to image some samples entirely in focus. Extended depth-of-field techniques, however, allow a single image, with all areas in focus, to be extracted from a series of images focused at a range of depths. In recent years, a variety of algorithmic approaches have been employed for bright-field optical microscopy. Here, we demonstrate that some established optical microscopy methods can also be applied to extend the ∼6 nm depth of focus of a 100 kV 5th-order aberration-corrected STEM (αmax = 33 mrad) to image Pt-Co nanoparticles on a thick vulcanized carbon support. These techniques allow us to automatically obtain a single image with all the particles in focus as well as a complimentary topography map.

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