The relation between probe size and spatial resolution of backscattered electron (BSE) images was studied. In addition, the effect of the accelerating voltage, the current intensity and the sample geometry and composition were analyzed. An image synthesis method was developed to generate the images from backscattered electron coefficients obtained from Monte Carlo simulations. Spatial resolutions of simulated images were determined with the SMART-J method, which is based on the Fourier transform of the image. The resolution can be improved by either increasing the signal or decreasing the noise of the backscattered electron image. The analyses demonstrate that using a probe size smaller than the size of the observed object (sample features) does not improve the spatial resolution. For a probe size larger than the feature size, the spatial resolution is proportional to the probe size.
Cambridge University Press
1 Jun 2012
Volume: 18 Issue: 3 Pages: 628-637
Microscopy and Microanalysis