Scattered electrons in microscopy and microanalysis

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Science  29 Jan 1982:
Vol. 215, Issue 4532, pp. 461-466
DOI: 10.1126/science.7054874


The use of scattered electrons alone for direct imaging of biological specimens makes it possible to obtain structural information at atomic and near-atomic spatial resolutions of 0.3 to 0.5 nanometer. While this is not as good as the resolution possible with x-ray crystallography, such an approach provides structural information rapidly on individual macromolecules that have not been, and possibly cannot be, crystallized. Analysis of the spectrum of energies of scattered electrons and imaging of the latter with characteristic energy bands within the spectrum produces a powerful new technique of atomic microanalysis. This technique, which has a spatial resolution of about 0.5 nanometer and a minimum detection sensitivity of about 50 atoms of phosphorus, is especially useful for light atom analysis and appears to have applications in molecular biology, cell biology, histology, pathology, botany, and many other fields.

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