Statistical parameter estimation theory is proposed as a method to quantify electron microscopy images. It aims at obtaining precise and accurate values for the unknown structure parameters including, for example, atomic column positions and types. In this theory, observations are purely considered as data planes, from which structure parameters have to be determined using a parametric model describing the images. The method enables us to measure positions of atomic columns with a precision of the order of a few picometers even though the resolution of the electron microscope is one or two orders of magnitude larger. Moreover, small differences in averaged atomic number, which cannot be distinguished visually, can be quantified using high-angle annular dark field scanning transmission electron microscopy images. Finally, it is shown how to optimize the experimental design so as to attain the highest precision. As an example, the optimization of the probe size for nanoparticle radius measurements is considered. It is also shown how to quantitatively balance signal-to-noise ratio and resolution by adjusting the probe size.

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Erasmus Research Institute of Management

van Aert, S, van den Broek, W, Goos, P.P, & van Dyck, D. (2012). Model-based electron microscopy: From images toward precise numbers for unknown structure parameters. Micron, 43(4), 509–515. doi:10.1016/j.micron.2011.10.019