Site-specific recoil diffraction of backscattered electrons in crystals

Aimo Winkelmann*, Maarten Vos

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)


    A novel diffraction effect in high-energy electron backscattering is demonstrated: the formation of element-specific diffraction patterns via nuclear recoil. For sapphire (Al2O3), the difference in recoil energy allows us to determine if an electron scattered from aluminum or from oxygen. The angular electron distribution obtained in such measurements is a strong function of the recoiling lattice site. These element-specific recoil diffraction features are explained using the dynamical theory of electron diffraction. Our observations open up new possibilities for local, element-resolved crystallographic analysis using quasielastically backscattered electrons in scanning electron microscopy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number085503
    JournalPhysical Review Letters
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2011


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