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We present a detailed analysis of the image formation mechanisms that are involved in the imaging of carbon nanotubes with scanning electron microscopy (SEM). We show how SEM images can be modelled by accounting for surface enhancement effects together with the absorption coefficient for secondary electrons, and the electron-probe shape. Images can then be deconvoluted, enabling retrieval of the intrinsic nanotube dimensions. Accurate estimates of their dimensions can thereby be obtained even for structures that are comparable to the electron-probe size (on the order of 2 nm). We also present a simple and robust model for obtaining the outer diameter of nanotubes without any detailed knowledge about the electron-probe shape. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Citation

H Jackman, P Krakhmalev, K Svensson. Image formation mechanisms in scanning electron microscopy of carbon nanotubes, and retrieval of their intrinsic dimensions. Ultramicroscopy. 2013 Jan;124:35-9

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PMID: 23142742

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