We have applied Atomic Number Contrast Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (Z-Contrast STEM) towards the study of colloidal CdSe semiconductor nanocrystals embedded in MEH-PPV polymer films.
For typical nanocrystal thicknesses, the image intensity is a monotonic function of thickness. Hence an atomic column-resolved image provides information both on the lateral shape of the nanocrystal, as well as the relative thickness of the individual columns.
We show that the Z-Contrast image of a single CdSe nanocrystal is consistent with the predicted 3-D model derived from considering HRTEM images of several nanocrystals in different orientations. We further discuss the possibility of measuring absolute thicknesses of atomic columns if the crystal structure is known.