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Planar defects in a polycrystalline diamond film were studied by
high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and
high-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). In both
modes, sub-Ångström resolution was achieved by making use of
two aberration-corrected systems; a TEM and a STEM
CS-corrected microscope, each operated at 300 kV. For
the first time, diamond in 〈110〉 zone-axis orientation was
imaged in STEM mode at a resolution that allows for resolving the atomic
dumbbells of carbon at a projected interatomic distance of 89 pm. Twin
boundaries that show approximately the Σ3 CSL structure reveal at
sub-Ångström resolution imperfections; that is, local
distortions, which break the symmetry of the ideal Σ3 type twin
boundary, are likely present. In addition to these imperfect twin
boundaries, voids on the atomic level were observed. It is proposed that
both local distortions and small voids enhance the mechanical toughness of
the film by locally increasing the critical stress intensity factor.
A new transmission electron microscope equipped with a monochromator and a high resolution energy-filter was used for the first time to fully exploit the chemical bonding information contained in the near edge fine structures (ELNES) of electron energy-loss spectra. The instrument is capable of acquiring spectra with an energy resolution in the range of 0.1 eV, thus opening up the way for improved ELNES information. ELNES spectra of TiO2 and CoO have been recorded and are compared with data obtained with a conventional microscope and with x-ray absorption spectroscopy. In case of the L2,3 edges of the transition metals the new instrument revealed previously unobservable fine structure details, but for the O K edges the improved energy resolution does not result in more detailed structural features than observable in common microscopes. Furthermore, the potential of the new microscope to obtain chemical bonding information at the nanometer scale is discussed.
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