skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: Future of Electron Scattering and Diffraction

The ability to correlate the atomic- and nanoscale-structure of condensed matter with physical properties (e.g., mechanical, electrical, catalytic, and optical) and functionality forms the core of many disciplines. Directing and controlling materials at the quantum-, atomic-, and molecular-levels creates enormous challenges and opportunities across a wide spectrum of critical technologies, including those involving the generation and use of energy. The workshop identified next generation electron scattering and diffraction instruments that are uniquely positioned to address these grand challenges. The workshop participants identified four key areas where the next generation of such instrumentation would have major impact: A – Multidimensional Visualization of Real Materials B – Atomic-scale Molecular Processes C – Photonic Control of Emergence in Quantum Materials D – Evolving Interfaces, Nucleation, and Mass Transport Real materials are comprised of complex three-dimensional arrangements of atoms and defects that directly determine their potential for energy applications. Understanding real materials requires new capabilities for three-dimensional atomic scale tomography and spectroscopy of atomic and electronic structures with unprecedented sensitivity, and with simultaneous spatial and energy resolution. Many molecules are able to selectively and efficiently convert sunlight into other forms of energy, like heat and electric current, or store it in altered chemical bonds.more » Understanding and controlling such process at the atomic scale require unprecedented time resolution. One of the grand challenges in condensed matter physics is to understand, and ultimately control, emergent phenomena in novel quantum materials that necessitate developing a new generation of instruments that probe the interplay among spin, charge, orbital, and lattice degrees of freedom with intrinsic time- and length-scale resolutions. Molecules and soft matter require imaging and spectroscopy with high spatial resolution without damaging their structure. The strong interaction of electrons with matter allows high-energy electron pulses to gather structural information before a sample is damaged. Electron ScatteringImaging, diffraction, and spectroscopy are the fundamental capabilities of electron-scattering instruments. The DOE BES-funded TEAM (Transmission Electron Aberration-corrected Microscope) project achieved unprecedented sub-atomic spatial resolution in imaging through aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopy. To further advance electron scattering techniques that directly enable groundbreaking science, instrumentation must advance beyond traditional two-dimensional imaging. Advances in temporal resolution, recording the full phase and energy spaces, and improved spatial resolution constitute a new frontier in electron microscopy, and will directly address the BES Grand Challenges, such as to “control the emergent properties that arise from the complex correlations of atomic and electronic constituents” and the “hidden states” “very far away from equilibrium”. Ultrafast methods, such as the pump-probe approach, enable pathways toward understanding, and ultimately controlling, the chemical dynamics of molecular systems and the evolution of complexity in mesoscale and nanoscale systems. Central to understanding how to synthesize and exploit functional materials is having the ability to apply external stimuli (such as heat, light, a reactive flux, and an electrical bias) and to observe the resulting dynamic process in situ and in operando, and under the appropriate environment (e.g., not limited to UHV conditions). To enable revolutionary advances in electron scattering and science, the participants of the workshop recommended three major new instrumental developments: A. Atomic-Resolution Multi-Dimensional Transmission Electron Microscope: This instrument would provide quantitative information over the entire real space, momentum space, and energy space for visualizing dopants, interstitials, and light elements; for imaging localized vibrational modes and the motion of charged particles and vacancies; for correlating lattice, spin, orbital, and charge; and for determining the structure and molecular chemistry of organic and soft matter. The instrument will be uniquely suited to answer fundamental questions in condensed matter physics that require understanding the physical and electronic structure at the atomic scale. Key developments include stable cryogenic capabilities that will allow access to emergent electronic phases, as well as hard/soft interfaces and radiation- sensitive materials. B. Ultrafast Electron Diffraction and Microscopy Instrument: This instrument would be capable of nano-diffraction with 10 fs temporal resolution in stroboscopic mode, and better than 100 fs temporal resolution in single shot mode. The instrument would also achieve single- shot real-space imaging with a spatial/temporal resolution of 10 nm/10 ps, representing a thousand fold improvement over current microscopes. Such a capability would be complementary to x-ray free electron lasers due to the difference in the nature of electron and x-ray scattering, enabling space-time mapping of lattice vibrations and energy transport, facilitating the understanding of molecular dynamics of chemical reactions, the photonic control of emergence in quantum materials, and the dynamics of mesoscopic materials. C. Lab-In-Gap Dynamic Microscope: This instrument would enable quantitative measurements of materials structure, composition, and bonding evolution in technologically relevant environments, including liquids, gases and plasmas, thereby assuring the understanding of structure function relationship at the atomic scale with up to nanosecond temporal resolution. This instrument would employ a versatile, modular sample stage and holder geometry to allow the multi-modal (e.g., optical, thermal, mechanical, electrical, and electrochemical) probing of materials’ functionality in situ and in operando. The electron optics encompasses a pole piece that can accommodate the new stage, differential pumping, detectors, aberration correctors, and other electron optical elements for measurement of materials dynamics. To realize the proposed instruments in a timely fashion, BES should aggressively support research and development of complementary and enabling instruments, including new electron sources, advanced electron optics, new tunable specimen pumps and sample stages, and new detectors. The proposed instruments would have transformative impact on physics, chemistry, materials science, engineering« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5]
  1. GE Global Research, Niskayuna, New York (United States)
  2. Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA (United States)
  3. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  4. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
  5. Dept. of Energy (DOE), Washington DC (United States). Office of Science
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Program Document
Research Org:
US Department of Energy, Washington, DC (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States