Electron microscopy guide


TEM alignment

STEM alignment

Wave interference


Diffractive imaginging


About Rodenburg.org

This is the personal site of John Rodenburg.

I've taught electron microscopy to many people over the last twenty years in a number of diverse environments. During that time, I've often been frustrated by the fact that many excellent textbooks and introductions to the subject just don't cover certain key ideas in sufficient detail. I suppose this is because, like any very developed technical field, those in the position to write textbooks have forgotten what is was that was difficult to learn in the first place. All the main ideas are taken for granted. Because (perhaps unusually) I have a policy of teaching personally all my own research students, I am constantly reminded of what newly-qualified graduates seem to get stuck on.

So anyway, on these pages I hope to cover what I see as three key gaps in the existing literature:

1) Actual hands-on use of the microscope itself. In the textbooks, I think the assumption is that the details of how to line up a condenser aperture (or whatever) is so simple it doesn't warrant a single sentence. This knowledge has to be gleaned from other users. In some labs this essential 'background knowledge' is weak or completely absent. I have visited groups where the whole process of operating the machine is regarded as just a list of mysterious commands: not a good way of doing science.

2) To cover a few absolutely key theoretical ideas by very simple analogies. Most textbooks on EM describe the reader as requiring 'an elementary understanding of physics'. In fact, the particular class of physics required (optics, wave inference and quantum mechanics) is something which in my experience is rare amongst some of the biggest user communities (biologists, material scientists, device engineers). No apologies if I patronise the physicists.

3) To cover some advanced ideas that haven't yet really made their way into the textbooks. This is mostly a plan at the moment, but many advanced users have told me the first of these subjects I have actually posted (STEM alignment) has been genuinely useful.

I deliberately try to avoid covering things which you can find in any good textbook (e.g. Williams and Carter). In short, I am trying to cover gaps at the beginning and end of conventional textbooks. Because this is not a coherent subject-domain for a book, I think web pages are the best alternative medium. I add to them occasionally, usually during holiday periods when I am away from my real work of research and teaching.

If you find these pages useful, or whatever, please do email me at the address on the logo. (I display this as an image having had a bad experience with spam web-crawlers.)

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