An optical configuration for fastidious STEM detector calibration and the effect of the objective-lens pre-field

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In the scanning transmission electron microscope, an accurate knowledge of detector collection angles is paramount in order to quantify signals on an absolute scale. Here we present an optical configuration designed for the accurate measurement of collection angles for both image-detectors and energy-loss spectrometers. By deflecting a parallel electron beam, carefully calibrated using a diffraction pattern from a known material, we can directly observe the projection-distortion in the post-specimen lenses of probe-corrected instruments, the 3-fold caustic when an image-corrector is fitted, and any misalignment of imaging detectors or spectrometer apertures. We also discuss for the first time, the effect that higher-order aberrations in the objective-lens pre-field has on such an angle-based detector mapping procedure.

Lay description

The scanning transmission electron microscope is capable of taking pictures of materials down to the atomic-scale, but we still don’t know all the details of the recording systems that take our pictures. In this work, we explore the details of how these signals reach the detectors that build up our images. We develop a method to help microscopists get an even more accurate and reliable match with computer simulated images.

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