Original Research

Nanocartography: Planning for success in analytical electron microscopy


With the increasing diversity in material systems, ever-expanding number of analysis techniques, and the large capital costs of next generation instruments the ability to quickly and efficiently collect data in the electron microscope has become paramount to successful data analysis. Therefore, this research proposes a methodology of nanocartography that combines predictive stage motion with crystallographic information to provide microscopists with a sample map that can both reduce analysis time and improve confidence in data collected. Having a road map of the stage positions linked to microstructural (e.g., interfaces and growing directions) and crystallographic orientation data (e.g., specific poles and planes) provides microscopists with the ability to solve orientation relationships, create oblique tilt series movies, and also solve complex crystallographic unknowns at extremely small scales with minimal information. Most importantly, it can convert any sample orientation relationships across microscopes to increase optimization and collaboration throughout the field.

Declaration of Competing Interest

The authors declare that they have no known competing personal relationships or financial interests that could have appeared to influence the work in this paper.


The authors acknowledge financial support of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, Materials Sciences and Engineering Division. The authors also thank Drs. Larry Thomas, Steven Spurgeon, and Libor Kovarik for their fruitful discussions on electron microscopy and crystallography. Additionally, Jacob Haag's contribution of providing soundproofing and revisions are duly noted. PNNL is a multiprogram national laboratory operated by Battelle for the U.S. DOE under contract DEAC05-76RL01830.