Performance and image analysis of the aberration-corrected Hitachi HD-2700C STEM
We report the performance of the first aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) manufactured by Hitachi. We describe its unique features and versatile capabilities in atomic-scale characterization and its applications in materials research. We also discuss contrast variation of the STEM images obtained from different annular dark-field (ADF) detectors of the instrument, and the increased complexity in contrast interpretation and quantification due to the increased convergent angles of the electron probe associated with the aberration corrector. We demonstrate that the intensity of atomic columns in an ADF image depends strongly on a variety of imaging parameters, sample thickness, as well as the nuclear charge and the deviation from their periodic position of the atoms we are probing. Image simulations are often required to correctly interpret the atomic structure of an ADF-STEM image.