Single atom visibility in STEM optical depth sectioning

Ryo Ishikawa, Stephen J. Pennycook, Andrew R. Lupini, Scott D. Findlay, Naoya Shibata, Yuichi Ikuhara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The continuing development of aberration correctors for the scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) offers the possibility of locating single atoms in crystals in 3D via optical depth sectioning. The main factors that determine the feasibility of such an approach are visibility and dose requirements. Here, we show how Poisson's statistics can be quantitatively incorporated into STEM image simulations and demonstrate that the 3D location of single cerium atoms in wurtzite-type aluminum nitride is indeed feasible under large-angle illumination conditions with a relatively low dose. We also show that chromatic aberration does not presently represent a limitation provided a cold field emission source is used. These results suggest efforts into improved aberration corrector designs for larger illumination angles that offer significant potential for 3D structure determination of materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number163102
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2016

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