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A new approach for measurement of local thickness and characterization of grain boundaries is presented. The method is embodied in a software tool that helps to find and set sample orientations useful for high-resolution transmission electron microscopic (HRTEM) examination of grain boundaries in polycrystalline thin films. The novelty is the simultaneous treatment of the two neighboring grains and orienting both grains and the boundary plane simultaneously. The same metric matrix-based formalism is used for all crystal systems. Input into the software tool includes orientation data for the grains in question, which is determined automatically for a large number of grains by the commercial ASTAR program. Grain boundaries suitable for HRTEM examination are automatically identified by our software tool. Individual boundaries are selected manually for detailed HRTEM examination from the automatically identified set. Goniometer settings needed to observe the selected boundary in HRTEM are advised by the software. Operation is demonstrated on examples from cubic and hexagonal crystal systems.
Bright- and dark-field images are reconstructed by extracting the intensities of selected spots from a succession of digitalized electron diffraction patterns collected using a transmission electron microscope by scanning the focused beam over the area of interest. The procedure is similar to the generation of the scanning-transmission electron microscopy images. Several examples are shown to illustrate the flexibility and potentiality of such numerical off-line reconstruction.
Strategies for the structurally identification of nanocrystals from Precession Electron Diffraction (PED) patterns in a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) are outlined. A single-crystal PED pattern may be utilized for the structural identification of an individual nanocrystal. Ensembles of nanocrystals may be fingerprinted structurally from “powder PED patterns”. Highly reliable “crystal orientation & structure” maps may be obtained from automatically recorded and processed scanning-PED patterns at spatial resolutions that are superior to those of the competing electron backscattering diffraction technique of scanning electron microscopy. The analysis procedure of that automated technique has recently been extended to Fourier transforms of high resolution TEM images, resulting in similarly effective mappings. Open-access crystallographic databases are mentioned as they may be utilized in support of our structural fingerprinting strategies.
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