Molecular Mapping by Low-Energy-Loss Energy-Filtered Transmission Electron Microscopy Imaging

Institute of Chemistry, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Caixa Postal 6154, 13083-970, Campinas, SP, Brazil.
Analytical Chemistry (Impact Factor: 5.64). 03/2009; 81(6):2317-24. DOI: 10.1021/ac8024834
Source: PubMed


Structure-function relationships in supramolecular systems depend on the spatial distribution of molecules, ions, and particles within complex arrays. Imaging the spatial distribution of molecular components within nanostructured solids is the objective of many recent techniques, and a powerful tool is electron spectroscopy imaging in the transmission electron microscope (ESI-TEM) in the low-energy-loss range, 0-80 eV. This technique was applied to particulate and thin film samples of dielectric polymers and inorganic compounds, providing excellent distinction between areas occupied by various macromolecules and particles. Domains differentiated by small changes in molecular composition and minor differences in elemental contents are clearly shown. Slight changes in the molecules produce intensity variations in molecular spectra that are in turn expressed in sets of low-energy-loss images, using the standard energy-filtered transmission electron microscopy (EFTEM) procedures. The molecular map resolution is in the nanometer range and very close to the bright-field resolution achieved for the same sample, in the same instrument. Moreover, contrast is excellent, even though sample exposure to the electron beam is minimal.

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