Based on results recorded on real materials with new generation field-emission scanning electron microscopes (FE-SEMs), the actual potential of the technique is evaluated. Nanoscale characterization of bulk and nanomaterials using Z-contrast imaging, X-rays and Kikuchi diffraction is presented. The advantage of using the full range of accelerating voltages of the FE-SEM is demonstrated on an energy storage material, and the benefit of using diffraction contrast imaging in bulk crystalline materials to characterize stacking faults, dislocation structures and nanotwins is illustrated. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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