Image of the month

TEM high tilt

This month we have an illustration of the value of high-tilt imaging in transmission electron microscopy (TEM). In normal TEM images, what we see is a 2-dimensional projection of a (usually) 3-dimensional specimen. It can often be difficult to determine the true shape of the object from such images. EMLab's new JEOL 2100Plus instrument enables images to be recorded at tilt values up to +/- 80°, thus allowing us to establish the 3-dimensional shape of the structure being studied. The pictures above show a tilt sequence of a carbon nanomaterial. Image A shows the un-tilted specimen. Here, a short nanotube can be seen joined to a larger region. However, it is impossible to tell from this single image whether the larger region is flat or 3-dimensional. Images B, C and D are micrographs of the same region at increasing tilt values, and clearly show that the region to which the nanotube is attached is essentially flat. High-tilt imaging, and electron tomography, are becoming increasingly important techniques which literally add another dimension to electron microscopy.

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