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Published February 12, 2014 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

4D Imaging and Diffraction Dynamics of Single-Particle Phase Transition in Heterogeneous Ensembles


In this Letter, we introduce conical-scanning dark-field imaging in four-dimensional (4D) ultrafast electron microscopy to visualize single-particle dynamics of a polycrystalline ensemble undergoing phase transitions. Specifically, the ultrafast metal–insulator phase transition of vanadium dioxide is induced using laser excitation and followed by taking electron-pulsed, time-resolved images and diffraction patterns. The single-particle selectivity is achieved by identifying the origin of all constituent Bragg spots on Debye–Scherrer rings from the ensemble. Orientation mapping and dynamic scattering simulation of the electron diffraction patterns in the monoclinic and tetragonal phase during the transition confirm the observed behavior of Bragg spots change with time. We found that the threshold temperature for phase recovery increases with increasing particle sizes and we quantified the observation through a theoretical model developed for single-particle phase transitions. The reported methodology of conical scanning, orientation mapping in 4D imaging promises to be powerful for heterogeneous ensemble, as it enables imaging and diffraction at a given time with a full archive of structural information for each particle, for example, size, morphology, and orientation while minimizing radiation damage to the specimen.

Additional Information

© 2014 American Chemical Society. Published In Issue February 12, 2014; Article ASAP January 10, 2014; Just Accepted Manuscript January 06, 2014; Received: November 23, 2013. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation and Air Force Office of Scientific Research in the Physical Biology Center for Ultrafast Science and Technology supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation at Caltech. We thank Dr. Kiwook Hwang for the help in the preparation of specimens and Dr. Sang Tae Park and Dr. J. Spencer Baskin for their valuable discussions.

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