Three-dimensional observation of SiO2 hollow spheres with a double-shell structure using aberration-corrected scanning confocal electron microscopy

Xiaobin Zhang, Masaki Takeguchi, Ayako Hashimoto, Kazutaka Mitsuishi, Peng Wang, Peter D. Nellist, Angus I. Kirkland, Meguru Tezuka, Masayuki Shimojo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Optical sectioning using scanning confocal electron microscopy (SCEM) is a new three-dimensional (3D) imaging technique which promises improved depth resolution, particularly for laterally extended objects. Using a stage-scanning system to move the specimen in three dimensions, two-dimensional (2D) images sliced from any plane in XYZ space can be obtained in shorter acquisition times than those required for conventional electron tomography. In this paper, a double aberration-corrected SCEM used in annular dark-field mode was used to observe the 3D structure of SiO2 hollow spheres fabricated by a carbon template method. The double-shell structure of the sample was clearly reflected in both XY- and XZ-sliced images. However, elongation along the optical axis was still evident in the XZ-sliced images even when double aberration correctors were used. Application of a deconvolution technique to the experimental XZ-sliced images reduced the elongated shell thicknesses of the SiO2 sphere by 40-50 and the selectivity of information at a certain sample depth was also enhanced. Subsequently, 3D reconstruction by stacking the deconvoluted slice images restored the spherical surface of a SiO2 sphere. The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press [on behalf of Japanese Society of Microscopy]. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-169
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Electron Microscopy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jun


  • 3D observation and reconstruction
  • SiO hollow sphere
  • aberration-corrected ADF-SCEM
  • deconvolution
  • depth resolution
  • optical sectioning
  • pinhole
  • stage-scanning system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation


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