Towards automated diffraction tomography. Pt.I: Data acquisition
The ultimate aim of electron diffraction data collection for structure analysis is to sample the reciprocal space as accurately as possible to obtain a high-quality data set for crystal structure determination. Besides a more precise lattice parameter determination, fine sampling is expected to deliver superior data on reflection intensities, which is crucial for subsequent structure analysis. Traditionally, three-dimensional (3D) diffraction data are collected by manually tilting a crystal around a selected crystallographic axis and recording a set of diffraction patterns (a tilt series) at various crystallographic zones. In a second step, diffraction data from these zones are combined into a 3D data set and analyzed to yield the desired structure information. Data collection can also be performed automatically, with the recent advances in tomography acquisition providing a suitable basis. An experimental software module has been developed for the Tecnai microscope for such an automated diffraction pattern collection while tilting around the goniometer axis. The module combines STEM imaging with diffraction pattern acquisition in nanodiffraction mode. It allows automated recording of diffraction tilt series from nanoparticles with a size down to 5 nm.