Radiation damage and electron microscopy of organic polymers
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A condensed description is given of the fundamental processes involved in radiation damage and the effects of radiation on the physical and chemical properties of organic materials, particularly polymers. It is shown that the radiation doses received by specimens in the electron microscope are extremely high, very much greater than those used in radiation chemistry experiments. Because of this, only qualitative predictions of behaviour in the electron microscope can be made. A number of authors have described the changes in the image or diffraction pattern of particular specimen types during observation in the electron microscope and their work is reviewed here. In general, contrast features in the image may disappear, due to loss of mass or crystallinity, or new features may appear due to distortion of ordered regions. The effects of radiation damage on attainable resolution, and possible methods of improving the resolution are then discussed.
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