Three-Dimensional Imaging of the Defects in Materials at Atomic Resolution
Chien-Chun Chen1,2*, M. C. Scott2, Peter Ercius3, Chun Zhu2, Matthew Mecklenburg2, Edward R. White2, Chin-Yi Chiu4, B. C. Regan2, Yu Huang4, Laurence D. Marks5, Ulrich Dahmen3, Jianwei Miao2
1Department of Physics, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
2Department of Physics & Astronomy and California NanoSystems Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, USA
3National Center for Electron Microscopy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, USA
4Departments of Materials Science & Engineering and California NanoSystems Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, USA
5Department of Materials Science & Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, USA
* presenting author:陳健群, email:ccchen0627@mail.nsysu.edu.tw
Three dimensional imaging and structural determination have played an important role in the evolution of modern science and technology. X-ray crystallography, first established in the early 20th century that obtains a globally average structure from a large number of unit cells, remains the only method to determine 3D structure of materials science and biological samples at atomic resolution. However, visualizing local atomic structures within individual samples (e.g. defects) has become more important in modern science due to their capability of dramatically changing the properties of materials. Richard Feynman pointed out in his 1957 speech, “It would be very easy to make an analysis of any complicated chemical substance; all one would have to do would be to look at it and see where the atoms are... I put this out as a challenge: Is there no way to make the electron microscope more powerful?”

Recently, we have developed a general method, termed atomic-resolution electron tomography that will likely successfully tackle Feynman’s 1957 challenge. In combination of the state-of-art scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) and a novel tomographic reconstruction technique, known as equally sloped tomography (EST), we have achieved electron tomography at 2.4 angstrom resolution [1]. This general method has been applied to reveal almost all atoms inside the Pt nanoparticle with unprecedented details. We observe the existence of atomic steps at 3D twin grain boundaries and image for the first time the 3D core structure of edge and screw dislocations at atomic resolution [2].

[1] M. C. Scott, C. C. Chen, M. Mecklenburg, C. Zhu, R. Xu, P. Ercius, U. Dahmen, B. C. Regan and J. Miao, “Electron tomography at 2.4-ångström resolution”, Nature 483, 444–447 (2012).
[2] C. C. Chen, C. Zhu, E. R. White, C.-Y. Chiu, M. C. Scott, B. C. Regan, L. D. Marks, Y. Huang and J. Miao, “Three-dimensional imaging of dislocations in a nanoparticle at atomic resolution”, Nature 496, 74–77 (2013).


Keywords: Electron Tomography