Is resolution limited only by the wavelength of the electron? Because then I would presume there is no limit to resolution as you could lower the wavelength of an electron by increasing the voltage of the microscope.


  • $\begingroup$ The beam size is limited by electron repulsion. Charging is also an issue. See for example ou.edu/research/electron/bmz5364/resolutn.html and labx.com/resources/… $\endgroup$ – my2cts Mar 24 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ @my2cts - in a normal TEM there is one electron in the machine at a time, on average. Low beam currents, relativistic electrons and all that. Still, beam spread is an issue, but not from space charge. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Mar 24 at 23:51

There are practical limits. My favorite example is the original SLAC electron accelerator. With a beam tube 10,000 feet long, it could make electrons with short enough wavelengths that they could probe the insides of a proton- and discover 3 little point particles running around in there. But it occupied a lot of real estate, cost many millions of dollars to build, and their electric bills were substantial.


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