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Title: Electron Tomography: Seeing Atoms in Three Dimensions

Abstract

Our eyes - a parallel lens system - have the phenomenal ability to observe and "reconstruct" the three-dimensional world, relaying a 3-D image to our brains. Imaging of the nanoworld is best done with electrons rather than photons because of their lower wavelengths and higher resolution. The advent of aberration-correction has led to transmission electron microscopes with sub-Angstrom resolution that can resolve single atoms. Yet, no matter what detector is used, the resulting images are only two-dimensional projections of three-dimensional objects. Electron tomography is a technique that allows reconstruction of the three-dimensional structure and morphology of nanomaterials from such projections. X-ray tomography has been used in many branches of science for nearly half a century, and in the biological sciences electron tomography has been a powerful tool for understanding ultrastructure. However, for many years crystalline materials posed a challenge to electron tomography because diffraction contrast (a change in intensity in the image at particular crystal orientations) creates artifacts in the 3-D reconstruction. In 2003, with advances in scanning transmission electron microscopy, Midgley and colleagues obtained the first electron tomograms of crystalline materials. Shortly thereafter, Arslan et al. showed that the spatial resolution could be improved to 1 nm in allmore » three spatial dimensions and visualized the formation of faceted 3.5-nm quantum dots embedded in a Si matrix. However, with that work existing reconstruction algorithms appeared to have reached their limit. To attain a resolution of 1 nm, a total of 140 images over ±78 degrees of tilt were needed. Writing in Nature Materials, Goris et al. now report a novel algorithm for 3-D reconstruction of the atomic structure of free-standing Au nanorods, using only four projection images. I.A. acknowledges collaboration with J.D. Roehling, K.J. Batenburg, B.C. Gates and A. Katz for Figure 1, supported in part by the DOE BES DE-SC0005822, and in part by the LDRD program at PNNL. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is operated by Battelle under contract DE-AC05-76RL01830.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1054426
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-91168
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Nature Materials, 11(11):911-912
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Nature Materials, 11(11):911-912
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Arslan, Ilke, and Stach, Eric A. Electron Tomography: Seeing Atoms in Three Dimensions. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.1038/nmat3472.
Arslan, Ilke, & Stach, Eric A. Electron Tomography: Seeing Atoms in Three Dimensions. United States. doi:10.1038/nmat3472.
Arslan, Ilke, and Stach, Eric A. Thu . "Electron Tomography: Seeing Atoms in Three Dimensions". United States. doi:10.1038/nmat3472.
@article{osti_1054426,
title = {Electron Tomography: Seeing Atoms in Three Dimensions},
author = {Arslan, Ilke and Stach, Eric A.},
abstractNote = {Our eyes - a parallel lens system - have the phenomenal ability to observe and "reconstruct" the three-dimensional world, relaying a 3-D image to our brains. Imaging of the nanoworld is best done with electrons rather than photons because of their lower wavelengths and higher resolution. The advent of aberration-correction has led to transmission electron microscopes with sub-Angstrom resolution that can resolve single atoms. Yet, no matter what detector is used, the resulting images are only two-dimensional projections of three-dimensional objects. Electron tomography is a technique that allows reconstruction of the three-dimensional structure and morphology of nanomaterials from such projections. X-ray tomography has been used in many branches of science for nearly half a century, and in the biological sciences electron tomography has been a powerful tool for understanding ultrastructure. However, for many years crystalline materials posed a challenge to electron tomography because diffraction contrast (a change in intensity in the image at particular crystal orientations) creates artifacts in the 3-D reconstruction. In 2003, with advances in scanning transmission electron microscopy, Midgley and colleagues obtained the first electron tomograms of crystalline materials. Shortly thereafter, Arslan et al. showed that the spatial resolution could be improved to 1 nm in all three spatial dimensions and visualized the formation of faceted 3.5-nm quantum dots embedded in a Si matrix. However, with that work existing reconstruction algorithms appeared to have reached their limit. To attain a resolution of 1 nm, a total of 140 images over ±78 degrees of tilt were needed. Writing in Nature Materials, Goris et al. now report a novel algorithm for 3-D reconstruction of the atomic structure of free-standing Au nanorods, using only four projection images. I.A. acknowledges collaboration with J.D. Roehling, K.J. Batenburg, B.C. Gates and A. Katz for Figure 1, supported in part by the DOE BES DE-SC0005822, and in part by the LDRD program at PNNL. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is operated by Battelle under contract DE-AC05-76RL01830.},
doi = {10.1038/nmat3472},
journal = {Nature Materials, 11(11):911-912},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {11}
}