An automated acquisition system for collecting a large number of electron holograms, to improve the statistical precision of phase analysis, was developed. A technique for shifting the electron beam in combination with stage movement allows data to be acquired over a wide area of a TEM-specimen grid. Undesired drift in the hologram position, which may occur during the hologram acquisition, can be corrected in real time by automated detection of the interferencefringe region in an image. To demonstrate the usefulness of the developed automated hologram acquisition system, gold nanoparticles dispersed on a carbon foil were observed with a 1.2-MV atomic resolution holography electron microscope. The system could obtain 1024 holograms, which provided phase maps for more than 500 nanoparticles with a lateral resolution of 0.14 nm, in just 1 h. The observation results revealed an anomalous increase in mean inner potential for a particle size smaller than 4 nm. The developed automated hologram acquisition system can be applied to improve the precision of phase measurement by averaging many phase images, as demonstrated by single particle analysis for biological entities. Moreover, the system makes it possible to study electrostatic potential of catalysts and other functional nanoparticles at atomic resolution.
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