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Picture shows the schematics of a transmission electron microscope. An electron gun generates electron beam that passes through two sets of condenser lens and condenser apertures prior to hitting the specimen. The transmitted electrons are projected on a fluorescent screen and the image is sent to a camera.
TEM: An electron beam produced by an electron gun is collimated by condenser lenses and passes through a specimen. The transmitted electrons are projected on a screen and the image is sent to a camera. (credit: modification of work by Dr. Graham Beards)

Such limitations do not appear in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) , which was invented by Manfred von Ardenne in 1937. In an SEM, a typical energy of the electron beam is up to 40 keV and the beam is not transmitted through a sample but is scattered off its surface. Surface topography of the sample is reconstructed by analyzing back-scattered electrons, transmitted electrons, and the emitted radiation produced by electrons interacting with atoms in the sample. The resolving power of an SEM is better than 1 nm, and the magnification can be more than 250 times better than that obtained with a light microscope. The samples scanned by an SEM can be as large as several centimeters but they must be specially prepared, depending on electrical properties of the sample.

High magnifications of the TEM and SEM allow us to see individual molecules. High resolving powers of the TEM and SEM allow us to see fine details, such as those shown in the SEM micrograph of pollen at the beginning of this chapter ( [link] ).

Resolving power of an electron microscope

If a 1.0-pm electron beam of a TEM passes through a 2.0 - μ m circular opening, what is the angle between the two just-resolvable point sources for this microscope?


We can directly use a formula for the resolving power, Δ θ , of a microscope (discussed in a previous chapter) when the wavelength of the incident radiation is λ = 1.0 pm and the diameter of the aperture is D = 2.0 μ m :

Δ θ = 1.22 λ D = 1.22 1.0 pm 2.0 μ m = 6.10 × 10 −7 rad = 3.50 × 10 −5 degree.


Note that if we used a conventional microscope with a 400-nm light, the resolving power would be only 14 ° , which means that all of the fine details in the image would be blurred.

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Check Your Understanding Suppose that the diameter of the aperture in [link] is halved. How does it affect the resolving power?

doubles it

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  • Wave-particle duality exists in nature: Under some experimental conditions, a particle acts as a particle; under other experimental conditions, a particle acts as a wave. Conversely, under some physical circumstances, electromagnetic radiation acts as a wave, and under other physical circumstances, radiation acts as a beam of photons.
  • Modern-era double-slit experiments with electrons demonstrated conclusively that electron-diffraction images are formed because of the wave nature of electrons.
  • The wave-particle dual nature of particles and of radiation has no classical explanation.
  • Quantum theory takes the wave property to be the fundamental property of all particles. A particle is seen as a moving wave packet. The wave nature of particles imposes a limitation on the simultaneous measurement of the particle’s position and momentum. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle sets the limits on precision in such simultaneous measurements.
  • Wave-particle duality is exploited in many devices, such as charge-couple devices (used in digital cameras) or in the electron microscopy of the scanning electron microscope (SEM) and the transmission electron microscope (TEM).

Questions & Answers

as a free falling object increases speed what is happening to the acceleration
Success Reply
photo electrons doesn't emmit when electrons are free to move on surface of metal why?
Rafi Reply
What would be the minimum work function of a metal have to be for visible light(400-700)nm to ejected photoelectrons?
Mohammed Reply
give any fix value to wave length
40 cm into change mm
Arhaan Reply
40cm=40.0×10^-2m =400.0×10^-3m =400mm. that cap(^) I have used above is to the power.
i.e. 10to the power -2 in the first line and 10 to the power -3 in the the second line.
there is mistake in my first msg correction is 40cm=40.0×10^-2m =400.0×10^-3m =400mm. sorry for the mistake friends.
40cm=40.0×10^-2m =400.0×10^-3m =400mm.
this msg is out of mistake. sorry friends​.
what is physics?
sisay Reply
why we have physics
Anil Reply
because is the study of mater and natural world
because physics is nature. it explains the laws of nature. some laws already discovered. some laws yet to be discovered.
is this a physics forum
Physics Reply
explain l-s coupling
Depk Reply
how can we say dirac equation is also called a relativistic equation in one word
preeti Reply
what is the electronic configration of Al
usman Reply
what's the signeficance of dirac equetion.?
Sibghat Reply
what is the effect of heat on refractive index
Nepal Reply
As refractive index depend on other factors also but if we supply heat on any system or media its refractive index decrease. i.e. it is inversely proportional to the heat.
you are correct
law of multiple
if we heated the ice then the refractive index be change from natural water
can someone explain normalization condition
Priyojit Reply
please tell
1 millimeter is How many metres
Darling Reply
1millimeter =0.001metre
The photoelectric effect is the emission of electrons when light shines on a material. 
Chris Reply
Practice Key Terms 4

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