Nanometric crystal defects in transmission electron microscopy
Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is revisited in order to define methods for the identification of nanometric defects. Nanometric crystal defects play an important role as they influence, generally in a detrimental way, physical properties. For instance, radiation-induced damage in metals strongly degrades mechanical properties, rendering the material stronger but brittle. The difficulty in using TEM to identify the nature and size of such defects resides in their small size. TEM image simulations are deployed to explore limits and possible ways to improve on spatial resolution and contrast. The contrast of dislocation loops, cavities, and a stacking fault tetrahedra (SFT) are simulated in weak beam, interfering reflections (HRTEM), and scanned condensed electron probe (STEM) mode. Results indicate that STEM is a possible way to image small defects. In addition, a new objective aperture is proposed to improve resolution in diffraction contrast. It is investigated by simulations of the weak beam imaging of SFT and successfully applied in experimental observations.