Specially designed instrumentation for electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) in a scanning transmission electron microscope makes it possible to probe very low-loss excitations in matter with a focused electron beam. Here we study the nanoscale interaction of fast electrons with optical phonon modes in silica. In particular, we analyze the spatial dependence of EEL spectra in two geometrical arrangements: a free-standing truncated slab of silica and a slab with a junction between silica and silicon. In both cases, we identify different loss channels, involving polaritonic and nonpolaritonic contributions to the total electron energy loss, and we obtain the corresponding energy-filtered maps. Furthermore, we present a comparison of the theoretical simulations for a silica-silicon junction with experimental results, and we discuss the spatial resolution attainable from the energy-filtered map considering optical phonon excitations in a conventional experimental arrangement.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics