Transmission microscopy (TEM, an abbreviation which may also represent the instrument, a transmission electron microscope) may be a microscopy technique during which a beam of electrons is transmitted through a specimen to make a picture.
The specimen is most frequently an ultrathin section but 100 nm thick or a suspension on a grid. a picture is made from the interaction of the electrons with the sample because the beam is transmitted through the specimen. The image is then magnified and focused onto an imaging device, like a fluorescent screen, a layer of film, or a sensor like a scintillator attached to a charge-coupled device.
Transmission electron microscopes are capable of imaging at a significantly higher resolution than light microscopes, due to the smaller Broglie wavelength of electrons. this permits the instrument to capture fine detail—even as small as one column of atoms, which is thousands of times smaller than a resolvable object seen during a microscope.
Transmission microscopy may be a major analytical method within the physical, chemical, and biological sciences. TEMs find application in cancer research, virology, and materials science also as pollution, nanotechnology, and semiconductor research, but also in other fields like paleontology and palynology.
TEM instruments boast a huge array of operating modes including conventional imaging, scanning TEM imaging (STEM), diffraction, spectroscopy, and combinations of those. Even within conventional imaging, there are many fundamentally alternative ways that contrast is produced, called “image contrast mechanisms.” Contrast can arise from position-to-position differences within the thickness or density (“mass-thickness contrast”), number (“Z contrast,” pertaining to the common abbreviation Z for atomic number), crystal structure or orientation (“crystallographic contrast” or “diffraction contrast”), the slight quantum-mechanical phase shifts that individual atoms produce in electrons that undergo them (“phase contrast”), the energy lost by electrons on passing through the sample (“spectrum imaging”) and more. Each mechanism tells the user special quiet information, depending not only on the contrast mechanism but on how the microscope is used—the settings of lenses, apertures, and detectors. What this suggests is that a TEM is capable of returning an unprecedented sort of nanometer- and atomic-resolution information, in ideal cases revealing not only where all the atoms are but what sorts of atoms they’re and the way they’re bonded to every other. For this reason, TEM is considered an important tool for nanoscience in both biological and materials fields.
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