In Situ Electron Microscopy Techniques


Charles W. Allen Materials Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory

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For decades, electron microscopies, transmission electron microscopy especially, have been employed as an important tool in materials research studies in nanoscience and developments in nanotechnology, for their powerful analytical techniques at spatial resolution and also as a kind of microlaboratory in which dynamic studies have been conducted “in situ.” Such in situ or real-time studies have included those involving phase transformations, mechanical deformation and failure, irradiation-related phenomena, and a host of others involving changes in physical, chemical, magnetic, and electrical structure, microstructure, and properties. This article will present a number of examples from in situ studies to illustrate how such electron microscopy-based studies may contribute, often in unique ways, to the understanding of the behavior of material systems of relevance to modern nanoscience and nanotechnology. We will also review briefly a number of analytical techniques that have been developed over the years and applied to electron microscopies and finally comment on potential impact ongoing developments, particularly the correction of electron optical aberrations, will have on in situ studies.