Research Highlights

Towards the interpretation of a shift of the central beam in nano-beam electron diffraction as a change in mean inner potential

Christoph Mahr, Tim Grieb, Florian F.Krause, Marco Schowalter, Andreas Rosenauer

Ultramicroscopy (2022) 236, 113503

The measurement of electric fields in scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) is a highly investigated field of research. The constant improvement of spatial resolution in STEM and the development of new hardware for the fast acquisition of diffraction patterns even paved the way for the measurement of atomic electric fields. Although the basic principle that an electric field leads to a tilt of the focussed electron probe that can be detected as a shift of the diffraction pattern in the back focal plane of the objective lens seems quite simple, many challenges arose in the measurement of fields in a quantitative way. In the present study we investigate whether a shift of the diffraction pattern that occurs at an interface between two materials can be related to the electric field which is caused by the difference of the mean inner potentials of the two materials. To this end, experiments and simulations are compared. It is demonstrated that the difference in mean inner potential has an influence on the observed effect, but a quantitative interpretation is difficult. The influence of image recording effects such as shot noise and the modulation transfer function are investigated as well as further effects such as e.g. sample tilt. In addition, the influence of the observed effect on a strain measurement is shown.

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