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Title: Energy-loss- and thickness-dependent contrast in atomic-scale electron energy-loss spectroscopy

Atomic-scale elemental maps of materials acquired by core-loss inelastic electron scattering often exhibit an undesirable sensitivity to the unavoidable elastic scattering, making the maps counter-intuitive to interpret. Here, we present a systematic study that scrutinizes the energy-loss and sample-thickness dependence of atomic-scale elemental maps acquired using 100 keV incident electrons in a scanning transmission electron microscope. For single-crystal silicon, the balance between elastic and inelastic scattering means that maps generated from the near-threshold Si-L signal (energy loss of 99 eV) show no discernible contrast for a thickness of 0.5λ (λ is the electron mean-free path, here approximately 110 nm). At greater thicknesses we observe a counter-intuitive “negative” contrast. Only at much higher energy losses is an intuitive “positive” contrast gradually restored. Our quantitative analysis shows that the energy-loss at which a positive contrast is restored depends linearly on the sample thickness. This behavior is in very good agreement with our double-channeling inelastic scattering calculations. We test a recently-proposed experimental method to correct the core-loss inelastic scattering and restore an intuitive “positive” chemical contrast. The method is demonstrated to be reliable over a large range of energy losses and sample thicknesses. The corrected contrast for near-threshold maps is demonstrated to bemore » (desirably) inversely proportional to sample thickness. As a result, implications for the interpretation of atomic-scale elemental maps are discussed.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Univ. de Toulouse, Cedex (France); National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (United States)
  2. Monash Univ., Melbourne, VIC (Australia)
  3. Ernst Ruska-Centre for Microscopy and Spectroscopy with Electrons, and Peter Grunberg Institute, Julich (Germany)
  4. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1098-0121; PRBMDO; R&D Project: 16060; KC0403020
Grant/Contract Number:
SC00112704; AC02-98CH10886; DESC0001086
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physical Review. B, Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 90; Journal Issue: 21; Journal ID: ISSN 1098-0121
American Physical Society (APS)
Research Org:
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
77 NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY; EELS; STEM; spectroscopic mapping; preservation of elastic contrast