What can electron microscopy tell us beyond crystal structures?

Wuzong Zhou, Heather Frances Greer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Transmission electron microscopy is a powerful tool to directly image crystal structures. Not only that, it is often used to reveal crystal size and morphology, crystal orientation, crystal defects, surface structures, superstructures, etc. However, due to the 2D nature of TEM images, it is easy to make mistakes when we try to recover a 3D structure from them. Scanning electron microscopy is able to provide information on the particle size, morphology and surface topography. However, obtaining information on crystallinity of particles using SEM is difficult. In this microreview article, some practical cases of transmission and scanning electron microscopy investigations of inorganic crystals are reviewed. Commonly occurring uncertainties, imperfection and misunderstandings are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)941–950
JournalEuropean Journal of Inorganic Chemistry
Issue number7
Early online date27 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Electron microscopy
  • Electron diffraction
  • Crystal growth
  • Solid-state structures
  • Nanostructures


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