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Ultramicroscopy. 2004 Jul;100(1-2):79-90.

Imaging a dense nanodot assembly by phase retrieval from TEM images.

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  • 1LTPCM-INPG-CNRS-UJF, Domaine Universitaire BP75, 38402 Saint Martin d'Hères, France. patricia.donnadieu@ltpcm.inpg.fr


Phase retrieval is a classical inverse problem in many fields dealing with waves that is becoming of increasing interest in transmission electron microscopy (TEM). A non-interferometric approach is here applied to TEM images. Phase retrieval possibilities given by the transport intensity equation are compared to the ones deriving from the weak phase object approximation. In the limit of small angles, both methods lead to a similar equation between the phase and a set of defocus images. This equation can be solved by an image processing equivalent to using a specific filter in Fourier space. This processing leads to phase images with a spatial resolution here essentially limited by the defocus amount between images. A dense assembly of silicon nanodots is used as a model case to illustrate the interest of this approximate phase retrieval method which can be carried out on standard equipment. The dot heights estimated using the phase images are found to be in good agreement with ones measured by atomic force microscopy. Since image noise and large defocus values may strongly affect the solution given by the approximate method, an iterative phase retrieval method is also used as a test for working conditions.

Copyright 2004 Elsevier B.V.

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