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Magnetic Field Mapping using Off-Axis Electron Holography in the Transmission Electron Microscope

Published: December 4th, 2020



1Ernst Ruska-Centre for Microscopy and Spectroscopy with Electrons and Peter Grünberg Institute, Forschungszentrum Jülich

Off-axis electron holography is a powerful technique that involves the formation of an interference pattern in a transmission electron microscope (TEM) by overlapping two parts of an electron wave, one of which has passed through a region of interest on a specimen and the other is a reference wave. The resulting off-axis electron hologram can be analyzed digitally to recover the phase difference between the two parts of the electron wave, which can then be interpreted to provide quantitative information about local variations in electrostatic potential and magnetic induction within and around the specimen. Off-axis electron holograms can be recorded while a specimen is subjected to external stimuli such as elevated or reduced temperature, voltage, or light. The protocol that is presented here describes the practical steps that are required to record, analyze, and interpret off-axis electron holograms, with a primary focus on the measurement of magnetic fields within and around nanoscale materials and devices. Presented here are the steps involved in the recording, analysis, and processing of off-axis electron holograms, as well as the reconstruction and interpretation of phase images and visualization of the results. Also discussed are the need for optimization of the specimen geometry, the electron optical configuration of the microscope, and the electron hologram acquisition parameters, as well as the need for the use of information from multiple holograms to extract the desired magnetic contributions from the recorded signal. The steps are illustrated through a study of specimens of B20-type FeGe, which contain magnetic skyrmions and were prepared with focused ion beams (FIBs). Prospects for the future development of the technique are discussed.


Magnetic Field Mapping

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