Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 41, Issue 14, pp 4420–4433 | Cite as

Spherical-aberration correction in tandem with the restoration of the exit-plane wavefunction: synergetic tools for the imaging of lattice imperfections in crystalline solids at atomic resolution

  • Karsten TillmannEmail author
  • Lothar Houben
  • Andreas Thust
  • Knut Urban


With the availability of resolution-boosting and delocalization-minimizing techniques, aberration-corrected high-resolution transmission electron microscopy is currently enjoying great popularity with respect to the atomic scale imaging of lattice imperfections in crystalline solid-state materials. In the present review, the most striking practical benefits arising from the synergetic combination of two sophisticated state-of-the-art techniques, i.e. spherical-aberration-corrected imaging as well as the numerical restoration of the exit-plane wavefunction from a focal series of high-resolution micrographs, are illustrated by highlighting their combined use for the atomic-scale characterization of misfit dislocations, stacking faults and grain boundaries in common semiconductor materials and metastable metal phases. For these purposes recent progress is reviewed in the atomic-scale characterization of (i) Lomer-type misfit dislocations at InxGa1-xAs/GaAs heterointerfaces and extrinsic stacking fault ribbons in GaAs together with the associated lattice displacements [Tillmann et al. (2004) Microsc Microanal 10:185], (ii) the core structure of chromium implantation-induced Frank partial dislocations in GaN [Tillmann et al. (2005) Microsc Microanal 11:534] as well as (iii) tilt boundaries between β-phase Ta crystallites in thin metallization layers [Tillmann et al. (2006) Phil Mag, in press]. In addition, practical advantages are demonstrated of the retrieval of the exit-plane wavefunction not only for the measurement and subsequent elimination of residual lens aberrations still present in aberration-corrected microscopy, but also for the proper alignment of specimens during operation of the electron microscope.


Dislocation Core Contrast Feature Atom Column Focal Series Dislocation Core Structure 



The authors are grateful to Arno Förster, Vitaly Guzenko, Martin Weides and Doris Meertens for making available the samples investigated in this compilation and for painstaking specimen preparation work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karsten Tillmann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lothar Houben
    • 1
  • Andreas Thust
    • 1
  • Knut Urban
    • 1
  1. 1.Ernst Ruska-Centre for Microscopy and Spectroscopy with Electrons and Institute of Solid State Research, Research Centre JülichJülichGermany

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