Nanotechnology is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally, nanotechnology deals with developing materials, devices, or other structures possessing at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers.
There is much debate on the future implications of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology may be able to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of applications, such as in medicine, electronics, biomaterials and energy production. On the other hand, nanotechnology raises many of the same issues as any new technology, including concerns about the toxicity and environmental impact of nanomaterials, and their potential effects on global economics, as well as speculation about various doomsday scenarios.
High-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) is an imaging mode of the transmission electron microscope that allows for direct imaging of the atomic structure of the sample. HRTEM is a powerful tool to study properties of materials on the atomic scale, such as semiconductors, metals, nanoparticles and sp2-bonded carbon (e.g. graphene, C nanotubes). At present, the highest point resolution realised in phase contrast TEM is around 0.5 ångströms (0.050 nm). At these small scales, individual atoms of a crystal and its defects can be resolved. For 3-dimensional crystals, it may be necessary to combine several views, taken from different angles, into a 3D map. This technique is called electron crystallography.
One of the difficulties with HRTEM is that image formation relies on phase contrast. In phase-contrast imaging, contrast is not necessarily intuitively interpretable, as the image is influenced by aberrations of the imaging lenses in the microscope. The largest contributions for uncorrected instruments typically come from defocus and astigmatism. The latter can be estimated from the so-called Thon ring pattern appearing in the Fourier transform modulus of an image of a thin amorphous film.