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Crystalline materials used in technological applications are often complex assemblies composed of multiple phases and differently oriented grains. Robust identification of the phases and orientation relationships from these samples is crucial, but the information extracted from the diffraction condition probed by an electron beam is often incomplete. We have developed an automated crystal orientation mapping (ACOM) procedure which uses a converged electron probe to collect diffraction patterns from multiple locations across a complex sample. We provide an algorithm to determine the orientation of each diffraction pattern based on a fast sparse correlation method. We demonstrate the speed and accuracy of our method by indexing diffraction patterns generated using both kinematical and dynamical simulations. We have also measured orientation maps from an experimental dataset consisting of a complex polycrystalline twisted helical AuAgPd nanowire. From these maps we identify twin planes between adjacent grains, which may be responsible for the twisted helical structure. All of our methods are made freely available as open source code, including tutorials which can be easily adapted to perform ACOM measurements on diffraction pattern datasets.
Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) is an extremely versatile method for studying materials on the atomic scale. Many STEM experiments are supported or validated with electron scattering simulations. However, using the conventional multislice algorithm to perform these simulations can require extremely large calculation times, particularly for experiments with millions of probe positions as each probe position must be simulated independently. Recently, the plane-wave reciprocal-space interpolated scattering matrix (PRISM) algorithm was developed to reduce calculation times for large STEM simulations. Here, we introduce a new method for STEM simulation: partitioning of the STEM probe into “beamlets,” given by a natural neighbor interpolation of the parent beams. This idea is compatible with PRISM simulations and can lead to even larger improvements in simulation time, as well requiring significantly less computer random access memory (RAM). We have performed various simulations to demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of partitioned PRISM STEM simulations. We find that this new algorithm is particularly useful for 4D-STEM simulations of large fields of view. We also provide a reference implementation of the multislice, PRISM, and partitioned PRISM algorithms.
Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) allows for imaging, diffraction, and spectroscopy of materials on length scales ranging from microns to atoms. By using a high-speed, direct electron detector, it is now possible to record a full two-dimensional (2D) image of the diffracted electron beam at each probe position, typically a 2D grid of probe positions. These 4D-STEM datasets are rich in information, including signatures of the local structure, orientation, deformation, electromagnetic fields, and other sample-dependent properties. However, extracting this information requires complex analysis pipelines that include data wrangling, calibration, analysis, and visualization, all while maintaining robustness against imaging distortions and artifacts. In this paper, we present py4DSTEM, an analysis toolkit for measuring material properties from 4D-STEM datasets, written in the Python language and released with an open-source license. We describe the algorithmic steps for dataset calibration and various 4D-STEM property measurements in detail and present results from several experimental datasets. We also implement a simple and universal file format appropriate for electron microscopy data in py4DSTEM, which uses the open-source HDF5 standard. We hope this tool will benefit the research community and help improve the standards for data and computational methods in electron microscopy, and we invite the community to contribute to this ongoing project.
One of the primary uses for transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is to measure diffraction pattern images in order to determine a crystal structure and orientation. In nanobeam electron diffraction (NBED), we scan a moderately converged electron probe over the sample to acquire thousands or even millions of sequential diffraction images, a technique that is especially appropriate for polycrystalline samples. However, due to the large Ewald sphere of TEM, excitation of Bragg peaks can be extremely sensitive to sample tilt, varying strongly for even a few degrees of sample tilt for crystalline samples. In this paper, we present multibeam electron diffraction (MBED), where multiple probe-forming apertures are used to create multiple scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) probes, all of which interact with the sample simultaneously. We detail designs for MBED experiments, and a method for using a focused ion beam to produce MBED apertures. We show the efficacy of the MBED technique for crystalline orientation mapping using both simulations and proof-of-principle experiments. We also show how the angular information in MBED can be used to perform 3D tomographic reconstruction of samples without needing to tilt or scan the sample multiple times. Finally, we also discuss future opportunities for the MBED method.