An electron microscope is a type of microscope that produces an electronically-magnified image of a specimen for detailed observation. The electron microscope (EM) uses a particle beam of electrons to illuminate the specimen and create a magnified image of it. The microscope has a greater resolving power than a light-powered optical microscope, because it uses electrons that have wavelengths about 100,000 times shorter than visible light (photons), and can achieve magnifications of up to 2,000,000x, whereas ordinary, non-confocal light microscopes are limited to 2000x magnification.
The electron microscope uses electrostatic and electromagnetic “lenses” to control the electron beam and focus it to form an image. These lenses are analogous to, but different from the glass lenses of an optical microscope that form a magnified image by focusing light on or through the specimen. In transmission, the electron beam is first diffracted by the specimen, and then, the electron microscope “lenses” re-focus the beam into a Fourier-transformed image of the diffraction pattern for the selected area of investigation. The real image thus formed is a highly `magnified’ image by a factor of several million, and can be then recorded on a special photographic plate, or viewed on a detecting screen. Electron microscopes are used to observe a wide range of biological and inorganic specimens including microorganisms, cells, large molecules, biopsy samples, metals, and crystals. Industrially, the electron microscope is primarily used for quality control and failure analysis in semiconductor device fabrication.
... resolution and magnification. Transmission electron microscopes or TEM microscopes pass image-forming rays through the specimen being observed. Contrast or diffracted beam images are used to analyze ... emit lower-energy and longer-wavelength light. Inverted, confocal, and polarized light microscopes are industrial microscopes. An inverted microscope locates the illumination system above the ...
An electron microscope’s advantages over X-ray crystallography are that the specimen need not be a single crystal or even a polycrystalline powder, and also that the Fourier transform reconstruction of the object’s magnified structure occurs physically and thus avoids the need for solving the phase problem faced by the X-ray crystalographers after obatining their X-ray diffraction patterns of a single crystal or polycrystalline powder. The transmission electron microscope’s major `disadvantage’ is the need for extremely thin sections of the specimens, typically less than 10 nanometers. For biological specimens it also requires biological sample special `staining’ with heavy atom labels in order to achieve the required contrast, and then chemical fixation as well as encasing with a polymer resin to stabilize the biological specimen which is thin sectioned.
Electron microscope constructed by Ernst Ruska in 1933
In 1931, the German physicist Ernst Ruska and German electrical engineer Max Knoll constructed the prototype electron microscope, capable of four-hundred-power magnification; the apparatus was a practical application of the principles of electron microscopy. Two years later, in 1933, Ruska built an electron microscope that exceeded the resolution attainable with an optical (lens) microscope. Moreover, Reinhold Rudenberg, the scientific director of Siemens-Schuckertwerke, obtained the patent for the electron microscope in May 1931. Family illness compelled the electrical engineer to devise an electrostatic microscope, because he wanted to make visible the poliomyelitis virus.
In 1937, the Siemens company financed the development work of Ernst Ruska and Bodo von Borries, and employed Helmut Ruska (Ernst’s brother) to develop applications for the microscope, especially with biologic specimens. Also in 1937, Manfred von Ardenne pioneered the scanning electron microscope. The first practical electron microscope was constructed in 1938, at the University of Toronto, by Eli Franklin Burton and students Cecil Hall, James Hillier, and Albert Prebus; and Siemens produced the first commercial Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) in 1939. Although contemporary electron microscopes are capable of two million-power magnification, as scientific instruments, they remain based upon Ruska’s prototype.
... an electron gun. This beam then travels through the length of the microscope cylinder, which contains the lenses, the specimen chamber, and the image-recording ... image. In the optical microscope the image is determined by absorption of light by the specimen; in the electron microscope the image results from a scattering of electrons ...
Transmission electron microscope (TEM)
Main article: Transmission electron microscope
The original form of electron microscope, the transmission electron microscope (TEM) uses a high voltage electron beam to create an image. The electrons are emitted by an electron gun, commonly fitted with a tungsten filament cathode as the electron source. The electron beam is accelerated by an anode typically at +100 keV (40 to 400 keV) with respect to the cathode, focused by electrostatic and electromagnetic lenses, and transmitted through the specimen that is in part transparent to electrons and in part scatters them out of the beam. When it emerges from the specimen, the electron beam carries information about the structure of the specimen that is magnified by the objective lens system of the microscope. The spatial variation in this information (the “image”) is viewed by projecting the magnified electron image onto a fluorescent viewing screen coated with a phosphor or scintillator material such as zinc sulfide. The image can be photographically recorded by exposing a photographic film or plate directly to the electron beam, or a high-resolution phosphor may be coupled by means of a lens optical system or a fibre optic light-guide to the sensor of a CCD (charge-coupled device) camera. The image detected by the CCD may be displayed on a monitor or computer.
Resolution of the TEM is limited primarily by spherical aberration, but a new generation of aberration correctors have been able to partially overcome spherical aberration to increase resolution. Hardware correction of spherical aberration for the High Resolution TEM (HRTEM) has allowed the production of images with resolution below 0.5 Ångström (50 picometres) at magnifications above 50 million times. The ability to determine the positions of atoms within materials has made the HRTEM an important tool for nano-technologies research and development.
... types of electron microscope which are: Transmission electron microscope Scanning electron microscope Firstly transmission electron microscopy (TEM) this is a beam of electrons being transmitted through the specimen. The specimen used must ... Focused by Magnets Illumination Electrons The way an image is formed on a electron microscope (EM) is by the electrons in an electron microscope (EM) are focused ...
Scanning electron microscope (SEM)
Main article: Scanning electron microscope
Unlike the TEM, where electrons of the high voltage beam carry the image of the specimen, the electron beam of the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) does not at any time carry a complete image of the specimen. The SEM produces images by probing the specimen with a focused electron beam that is scanned across a rectangular area of the specimen (raster scanning).
At each point on the specimen the incident electron beam loses some energy, and that lost energy is converted into other forms, such as heat, emission of low-energy secondary electrons, light emission (cathodoluminescence) or x-ray emission. The display of the SEM maps the varying intensity of any of these signals into the image in a position corresponding to the position of the beam on the specimen when the signal was generated. In the SEM image of an ant shown at right, the image was constructed from signals produced by a secondary electron detector, the normal or conventional imaging mode in most SEMs.
Generally, the image resolution of an SEM is about an order of magnitude poorer than that of a TEM. However, because the SEM image relies on surface processes rather than transmission, it is able to image bulk samples up to many centimetres in size and (depending on instrument design and settings) has a great depth of field, and so can produce images that are good representations of the three-dimensional shape of the sample.
Reflection electron microscope (REM)
In the Reflection Electron Microscope (REM) as in the TEM, an electron beam is incident on a surface, but instead of using the transmission (TEM) or secondary electrons (SEM), the reflected beam of elastically scattered electrons is detected. This technique is typically coupled with Reflection High Energy Electron Diffraction (RHEED) and Reflection high-energy loss spectrum (RHELS).
Another variation is Spin-Polarized Low-Energy Electron Microscopy (SPLEEM), which is used for looking at the microstructure of magnetic domains.
Scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM)
Main article: Scanning transmission electron microscopy
... three-dimensional colored image. In 1970, another electron microscope called the scanning electron microscope (SEM) was developed. The scanning electron microscope is used ... Jim Quinn has been quoted saying, "Without the TEM or SEM you would not have microchips ... 486, Pentium, ... s working model was a transmission electron microscope (TEM). It sends a beam of electrons, rather than light, through the ...
The STEM rasters a focused incident probe across a specimen that (as with the TEM) has been thinned to facilitate detection of electrons scattered through the specimen. The high resolution of the TEM is thus possible in STEM. The focusing action (and aberrations) occur before the electrons hit the specimen in the STEM, but afterward in the TEM. The STEMs use of SEM-like beam rastering simplifies annular dark-field imaging, and other analytical techniques, but also means that image data is acquired in serial rather than in parallel fashion.
Low voltage electron microscope (LVEM)
The low voltage electron microscope (LVEM) is a combination of SEM, TEM and STEM in one instrument, which operates at relatively low electron accelerating voltage of 5 kV. Low voltage increases image contrast which is especially important for biological specimens. This increase in contrast significantly reduces, or even eliminates the need to stain. Sectioned samples generally need to be thinner than they would be for conventional TEM (20-65 nm).
Resolutions of a few nm are possible in TEM, SEM and STEM modes.