Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 September 2003
Of all the long-lived particles available as probes of condensed matter, and of all the signals available on a modern electron microscope, electron nanodiffraction patterns provide the strongest signal from the smallest volume. The technique is therefore perfectly suited to nanostructural investigations in inorganic chemistry and materials science. The Vacuum Generators HB501S, an ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) variant of the HB501 scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM), with side-entry double-tilt stage, specimen preparation and analysis chamber, three postspecimen lenses, and cold field-emission tip with integral magnetic gun lens, has therefore been modified to optimize nanodiffraction and quantitative convergent beam electron diffraction (QCBED) performance. A one-micrometer grain-size phosphor screen lying on a fiber-optic faceplate atop the instrument is fiber-optically coupled to a 2048 × 2048 charge-coupled device (CCD), 16-bit camera. This arrangement promises to provide much greater sensitivity, larger dynamic range, and a better modulation transfer function (MTF) than conventional single crystal scintillator (YAG) CCD systems, with noticeable absence of cross talk between pixels. The design of the nanodiffraction detector system is discussed, the gain of the detector is measured, the spherical aberration constant of the objective lens is measured by the Ronchigram method, and preliminary results from the modified instrument are shown.