Single Atom Detection from Low Contrast-to-Noise Ratio Electron Microscopy Images

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Phys. Rev. Lett., Volume 121, p.056101 (2018)



Single atom detection is of key importance to solving a wide range of scientific and technological problems. The strong interaction of electrons with matter makes transmission electron microscopy one of the most promising techniques. In particular, aberration correction using scanning transmission electron microscopy has made a significant step forward toward detecting single atoms. However, to overcome radiation damage, related to the use of high-energy electrons, the incoming electron dose should be kept low enough. This results in images exhibiting a low signal-to-noise ratio and extremely weak contrast, especially for light-element nanomaterials. To overcome this problem, a combination of physics-based model fitting and the use of a model-order selection method is proposed, enabling one to detect single atoms with high reliability.

Research area: