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Low-energy electron point source microscopy and electron holography Open Access


Other title
low energy electrons
coherence electron source
Electron holography
carbon nanotubes
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Mutus, Josh Y
Supervisor and department
Wolkow, Robert (Department of Physics)
Examining committee member and department
Marsiglio, Frank (Department of Physics)
Brown, Alex (Department of Chemistry)
Kreuzer, Hans Jürgen (Department of Physics, Dalhousie University)
Hegmann, Frank (Department of Physics)
Department of Physics

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Low energy electron point source (LEEPS) microscopy is the simplest embodiment of an electron microscope, consisting of only a source, a sample and a detector. In a specific regime, LEEPS may also be used to create in-line holograms; special interference patterns that contain the information about the entire electron wavefront, including the structure of the sample and electromagnetic field around it. This work describes the design, construction and characterization of a microscope designed to performs LEEPS microscopy and electron holography at the nanoscale. An overview of previous experimental apparatus are discussed. Also, the impact of spatial and energetic inhomogeneities of the electron source on the quality and resolution of the hologram, in terms of the numerical aperture of the microscope and the virtual source size of the electron emitter. The design of the microscope itself is presented including the system for isolating the microscope from contamination, mechanical vibration and electrical noise. Using scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) the microscope is shown to be stable within 0.1 ̊A. Instructions for the maintenance of the system are presented for future users of the microscope and to illustrate many of the systems described in the design of the microscope. The source of electrons used in the LEEPS microscope is a tungsten tip sharpened so as to field-emit electrons from a single atom. The technique for crafting such tips by field- assisted etching with nitrogen is described along with a discussion of the parameters used to control the aspect-ratio of the tip. Several samples are investigated using LEEPS: a sharp silicon nitride edge, a carbon nanotube bundle and graphene. The sample preparation techniques are discussed for each sample. Also, simple models for describing the resulting fringe patterns are proposed. There are several benefits associated with using LEEPS, including the lack of beam induced morphological changes or contamination. The samples are used to elucidate many properties about the optical system of the microscope, most importantly the expected resolution of the system. The software designed for the microscope to acquire images with high fidelity and for post-processing and correcting data is demonstrated. The microscope is shown to have a virtual source size of 1.6±0.6 ̊A a figure that exceeds published results form similar instruments. Preliminary holographic reconstructions are shown. The work concludes with a discussion of the parameters to be optimized in order to reach atomic resolution.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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