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Quantitative Analysis of Electron Beam Damage in Organic Thin Films

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      In transmission electron microscopy (TEM) the interaction of an electron beam with polymers such as P3HT:PCBM photovoltaic nanocomposites results in electron beam damage, which is the most important factor limiting acquisition of structural or chemical data at high spatial resolution. Beam effects can vary depending on parameters such as electron dose rate, temperature during imaging, and the presence of water and oxygen in the sample. Furthermore, beam damage will occur at different length scales. To assess beam damage at the angstrom scale, we followed the intensity of P3HT and PCBM diffraction rings as a function of accumulated electron dose by acquiring dose series and varying the electron dose rate, sample preparation, and the temperature during acquisition. From this, we calculated a critical dose for diffraction experiments. In imaging mode, thin film deformation was assessed using the normalized cross-correlation coefficient, while mass loss was determined via changes in average intensity and standard deviation, also varying electron dose rate, sample preparation, and temperature during acquisition. The understanding of beam damage and the determination of critical electron doses provides a framework for future experiments to maximize the information content during the acquisition of images and diffraction patterns with (cryogenic) transmission electron microscopy.

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            Author and article information

            Laboratory of Materials and Interface Chemistry, Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, and Centre for Multiscale Electron Microscopy, Eindhoven University of Technology , Het Kranenveld 14, Postbus 513-5600 MB, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
            [§ ]Institute for Complex Molecular Systems, Eindhoven University of Technology , De Zaale, 5612 AJ Eindhoven, The Netherlands
            Author notes
            [* ]E-mail h.friedrich@ ; phone +31 (0)40 247 3041 (H.F.).
            J Phys Chem C Nanomater Interfaces
            J Phys Chem C Nanomater Interfaces
            The Journal of Physical Chemistry. C, Nanomaterials and Interfaces
            American Chemical Society
            09 May 2017
            18 May 2017
            : 121
            : 19
            : 10552-10561
            5442601 10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b01749
            Copyright © 2017 American Chemical Society

            This is an open access article published under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial No Derivative Works (CC-BY-NC-ND) Attribution License, which permits copying and redistribution of the article, and creation of adaptations, all for non-commercial purposes.

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            Thin films & surfaces


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