Atomic resolution mapping of phonon excitations in STEM-EELS experimentsAtomic resolution mapping of phonon excitations in STEM-EELS experiments
Faculty of Sciences. Physics
Electron microscopy for materials research (EMAT)
Ultramicroscopy. - Amsterdam
147(2014), p. 1-7
University of Antwerp
Atomically resolved electron energy-loss spectroscopy experiments are commonplace in modern aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopes. Energy resolution has also been increasing steadily with the continuous improvement of electron monochromators. Electronic excitations however are known to be delocalized due to the long range interaction of the charged accelerated electrons with the electrons in a sample. This has made several scientists question the value of combined high spatial and energy resolution for mapping interband transitions and possibly phonon excitation in crystals. In this paper we demonstrate experimentally that atomic resolution information is indeed available at very low energy losses around 100 meV expressed as a modulation of the broadening of the zero loss peak. Careful data analysis allows us to get a glimpse of what are likely phonon excitations with both an energy loss and gain part. These experiments confirm recent theoretical predictions on the strong localization of phonon excitations as opposed to electronic excitations and show that a combination of atomic resolution and recent developments in increased energy resolution will offer great benefit for mapping phonon modes in real space.