Direct Quantification of Heat Generation Due to Inelastic Scattering of Electrons Using a Nanocalorimeter

Joonsuk Park, Kiho Bae, Taeho Roy Kim, Christopher Perez, Aditya Sood, Mehdi Asheghi, Kenneth E. Goodson, Woosung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is arguably the most important tool for atomic-scale material characterization. A significant portion of the energy of transmitted electrons is transferred to the material under study through inelastic scattering, causing inadvertent damage via ionization, radiolysis, and heating. In particular, heat generation complicates TEM observations as the local temperature can affect material properties. Here, the heat generation due to electron irradiation is quantified using both top-down and bottom-up approaches: direct temperature measurements using nanowatt calorimeters as well as the quantification of energy loss due to inelastic scattering events using electron energy loss spectroscopy. Combining both techniques, a microscopic model is developed for beam-induced heating and to identify the primary electron-to-heat conversion mechanism to be associated with valence electrons. Building on these results, the model provides guidelines to estimate temperature rise for general materials with reasonable accuracy. This study extends the ability to quantify thermal impact on materials down to the atomic scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2002876
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 3 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • General Materials Science
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


  • electron beam heating
  • electron energy loss spectroscopy
  • heat generation
  • inelastic scattering
  • transmission electron microscopy


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