Bright and coherent electron beams have been opening new frontiers in science and technology. So far, we have developed several field-emission transmission electron microscopes (FE-TEM) with increasing accelerating voltages to provide higher beam brightness. By using a 200-kV FE-TEM and electron holography techniques, we directly confirmed the Aharonov-Bohm effect. A 350-kV FE-TEM equipped with a low-temperature specimen stage enabled us to observe moving vortices in superconductors.2 Most Recently, we have developed a new 1-MV FE-TEM with a newly designed FE gun to obtain an even brighter and more coherent electron beam.
Electron beam brightness, Br, defined in Figure 1, is suitable for measuring the performance of electron guns, since both lens aberrations and mechanical/electrical vibrations contribute to a decrease in beam brightness, and beam coherency is proportional to (Br)1/2. Therefore, we optimized design of the illuminating system and its operation by maximizing the electron beam brightness.