Institute of Crystallography - CNR

Special issue: Advances in transmission electron microscopy for the study of soft and hard matter

Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) owes its success to the capability to investigate fundamental aspects of nature, answering the human need of knowledge necessary to understand unknown mechanisms and to find new solutions in a variety of fields like physics, biology, medicine, engineering, or chemistry. Since the beginning of modern science, the scientist necessitated to see, in a general sense, the details of a phenomenon to imagine and to develop a model capable of explaining the phenomenon itself. From this point of view, a microscope is the archetype tool capable of studying the ultimate elements of phenomena, which are invisible to the naked eye. When the scientific interest is focused on an atomic scale, this archetypic tool finds its highest expression in the transmission electron microscope. It is worthwhile to remark that the electron microscope itself is nearly useless alone, as it needs microscopy, which is the powerful combination of the most advanced technological equipment for imaging, diffraction, and spectroscopies with the knowledge and the methods necessary to explore all the opportunities provided by the microscope and by the depth of the strong electron-matter interaction. In fact, it is electron microscopy that provides answers to fundamental physical questions, such as the experimental demonstration of the self-interference of the electron [1, 2], previously believed possible only as a gedanken experiment proposed by Albert Einstein (Richard Feynman is said to have re-marked that self-interference of the electron is the phenomenon that contains everything you need to know about quantum mechanics). Again, it is …

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