Saturday, August 30, 2008

How accurate is TEM (Transmission Electron Microscopy)?

If you are a frequent user of a TEM (Transmission Electron Microscope), you would know how difficult it is to get a clean and focused picture especially below 10 nm average sizes. Speaking of sizes, you have to size your particles from the micrographs that come out of TEM's CCD camera (or from the good ol' black 'n whity).

There are a number of pricy softwares (if you haven't written your own software) that does it (I used ImagePro, a $5,000 for a single license). But the problem is, the sizing data relies heavily on how the image was taken. For this very reason I advice you to read the recent ASAP paper on "particle size determination using TEM: A Discussion of Image Acquisition and Analysis for the Novice Microscopist". Pryz et al. (Buttrey group in U Delaware) gives a good ride on how inaccurate a TEM picture would become. I feel like this paper may become a landmark.

Thanks to Dr. Aasheesh Srivastava for the tip.