Transmission Electron Microscopy

Transmission electron microscopy is a microscopic imaging technique in which a beam of electrons is transmitted through a specimen to form an image. Its an powerfull tool provide topographical, morphological, compositional and crystalline information. The TEM images allow researchers to view samples on a molecular level, making it possible to analyze structure and texture. The specimen is most often an ultrathin section less than 100 nm thick or a suspension on a grid. The TEM operates on the same basic principles as the light microscope but uses electrons instead of light. Because the wavelength of electrons is much smaller than that of light, the optimal resolution attainable for TEM images is many orders of magnitude better than that from a light microscope. Thus, TEMs can reveal the finest details of internal structure- in some cases as small as individual atoms.


The beam of electrons from the electron gun is focused into a small, thin, coherent beam by the use of the condenser lens. This beam is restricted by the condenser aperture, which excludes high angle electrons. The beam then strikes the specimen and parts of it are transmitted depending upon the thickness and electron transparency of the specimen. This transmitted portion is focused by the objective lens into an image on phosphor screen or charge coupled device (CCD) camera. Optional objective apertures can be used to enhance the contrast by blocking out high-angle diffracted electrons. The image then passed down the column through the intermediate and projector lenses, is enlarged all the way.

The image strikes the phosphor screen and light is generated, allowing the user to see the image. The darker areas of the image represent those areas of the sample that fewer electrons are transmitted through while the lighter areas of the image represent those areas of the sample that more electrons were transmitted through.

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