Local structure analysis of disordered materials via contrast variation in scanning transmission electron microscopy

K Kimoto and M Shiga and S Kohara and J Kikkawa and O Cretu and Y Onodera and K Ishizuka, AIP ADVANCES, 12, 095219 (2022).

DOI: 10.1063/5.0104798

The crystallographic structures of disordered materials are typically analyzed using diffractometry techniques, such as x-ray diffraction (XRD), neutron diffraction (ND), and electron diffraction (ED). Here, we demonstrate a novel technique to analyze the local structure of disordered materials via scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) under a contrast variation scheme. Contrast variation is a scheme used for the analysis of bulk materials, which combines two different diffractometry techniques with discrete scattering factors, such as ND and XRD. The STEM image contrasts of annular dark-field (ADF) and annular bright-field (ABF) imaging, which are characterized by different atomic number dependences, are simultaneously utilized. Simulated STEM images of amorphous SiO2 are examined using Fourier transform and autocorrelation operations, revealing that the Fourier transforms of ADF and ABF images are consistent with the results of conventional XRD/ED and ND techniques, respectively. The autocorrelation of the ABF image indicates the short-range ordering of light elements, which cannot be accomplished using conventional TEM, ED, and XRD techniques. As such, employing the contrast variation scheme in STEM imaging paves the way for analyzing the local crystallographic structure of non-monoatomic materials. (C) 2022 Author(s).

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