Indexed on: 02 Oct '15Published on: 02 Oct '15Published in: Beilstein journal of nanotechnology
A major revolution for electron microscopy in the past decade is the introduction of aberration correction, which enables one to increase both the spatial resolution and the energy resolution to the optical limit. Aberration correction has contributed significantly to the imaging at low operating voltages. This is crucial for carbon-based nanomaterials which are sensitive to electron irradiation. The research of carbon nanomaterials and nanohybrids, in particular the fundamental understanding of defects and interfaces, can now be carried out in unprecedented detail by aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopy (AC-TEM). This review discusses new possibilities and limits of AC-TEM at low voltage, including the structural imaging at atomic resolution, in three dimensions and spectroscopic investigation of chemistry and bonding. In situ TEM of carbon-based nanomaterials is discussed and illustrated through recent reports with particular emphasis on the underlying physics of interactions between electrons and carbon atoms.