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Single-atom dynamics in scanning transmission electron microscopy

  • Rohan Mishra (a1), Ryo Ishikawa (a2), Andrew R. Lupini (a3) and Stephen J. Pennycook (a4)

The correction of aberrations in the scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) has simultaneously improved both spatial and temporal resolution, making it possible to capture the dynamics of single atoms inside materials, and resulting in new insights into the dynamic behavior of materials. In this article, we describe the different beam–matter interactions that lead to atomic excitations by transferring energy and momentum. We review recent examples of sequential STEM imaging to demonstrate the dynamic behavior of single atoms both within materials, at dislocations, at grain and interface boundaries, and on surfaces. We also discuss the effects of such dynamic behavior on material properties. We end with a summary of ongoing instrumental and algorithm developments that we anticipate will improve the temporal resolution significantly, allowing unprecedented insights into the dynamic behavior of materials at the atomic scale.

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MRS Bulletin
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