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This paper describes the implementation of electron tomography in the scanning electron microscope, and discusses the potential of this recently proposed 3-D imaging technique [1][2]. Nowadays, the shape of the specimen is intuitively interpreted from a single image providing sufficient depth-of-field or from a combination of images acquired at different conditions, where the contrast features of the specimen details suggest their disposition in space. The introduction of the focused-ion beam allows one to visualize sub-surface structures and to perform a three-dimensional reconstruction through the slice-and-view method. Under the assumption that the slicing advances homogeneously and exposing a flat surface, the inner structure of the sample is revealed by contrast variations arising exclusively from the local variations in the specimen composition. These variations are either intrinsic to the specimen or have been introduced by the preliminary preparation, as is the usual case of biological samples. Sample preparation, progressive slicing, as well as the detection strategy used for image acquisition are the key elements in determining the resolution and the significance of the three-dimensional reconstruction. Electron tomography is among the most promising and rapidly developing techniques for 3-D reconstruction as it combines a reliable reconstruction algorithm with the signal corresponding to incoherently scattered electrons in the Scanning-Transmission (STEM) imaging mode [3][4]. The STEM is already implemented not only in the Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) but also in the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), where it …
Publication date: 
1 Jan 2012

M Ferroni, A Migliori, V Morandi, L Ortolani, G Sberveglieri, C Soldano

Biblio References: 
The 15th European Microscopy Congress