Improved Microscope Technology to Study Dynamic Material Processes

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have perfected an electron microscope to study fast-evolving material processes and chemical reactions. By applying engineering, microscopy, and laser expertise to the decades-old technology of electron microscopy, the dynamic transmission electron microscope (DTEM) team has developed a technique that can capture images of phenomena that are both very small and very fast. DTEM uses a precisely timed laser pulse to achieve a short but intense electron beam for imaging. When synchronized with a dynamic event in the microscope's field of view, DTEM allows scientists to record and measure material changes in action. A new movie-mode capability uses up to nine laser pulses to sequentially capture fast and irreversible material changes at the nanometer scale.