Finding a faster alternative to tilt-series electron tomography is critical for rapidly evolving fields such as the semiconductor industry, where failure analysis could greatly benefit from higher throughput. We present a theoretical and experimental evaluation of scanning confocal electron energy-loss microscopy (SCEELM) using valence-loss signals, which is a promising technique for the reliable reconstruction of materials with sub-10-nm resolution. Such a confocal geometry transfers information from the focused portion of the electron beam and enables rapid three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction by depth sectioning. SCEELM can minimize or eliminate the missing-information cone and the elongation problem that are associated with other depth-sectioning image techniques in a transmission electron microscope. Valence-loss SCEELM data acquisition is an order of magnitude faster and requires little postprocessing compared with tilt-series electron tomography. With postspecimen chromatic aberration (C c) correction, SCEELM signals can be acquired in parallel in the direction of energy dispersion with the aid of a physical pinhole. This increases the efficiency by 10×-100×, and can provide 3D resolved chemical information for multiple core-loss signals simultaneously.
- Aberration-corrected electron microscopy
- Chromatic aberration correction
- Inelastic confocal
- Scanning confocal electron energy-loss microscopy
ASJC Scopus subject areas