Experimental evaluation of the 'transport-of-intensity' equation for magnetic phase reconstruction in Lorentz transmission electron microscopy

Amit Kohn, Avihay Habibi, Martin Mayo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The 'transport-of-intensity' equation (TIE) is a general phase reconstruction methodology that can be applied to Lorentz transmission electron microscopy (TEM) through the use of Fresnel-contrast (defocused) images. We present an experimental study to test the application of the TIE for quantitative magnetic mapping in Lorentz TEM without aberration correction by examining sub-micrometer sized Ni80Fe20 (Permalloy) elements. For a JEOL JEM 2100F adapted for Lorentz microscopy, we find that quantitative magnetic phase reconstructions are possible for defoci distances ranging between approximately 200μm and 800μm. The lower limit originates from competing sources of image intensity variations in Fresnel-contrast images, namely structural defects and diffraction contrast. The upper defocus limit is due to a numerical error in the estimation of the intensity derivative based on three images. For magnetic domains, we show quantitative reconstructions of the product of the magnetic induction vector and thickness in element sizes down to approximately 100nm in lateral size and 5nm thick resulting in a minimal detection of 5Tnm. Three types of magnetic structures are tested in terms of phase reconstruction: vortex cores, domain walls, and element edges. We quantify vortex core structures at a diameter of 12nm while the structures of domain walls and element edges are characterized qualitatively. Finally, we show by image simulations that the conclusions of this experimental study are relevant to other Lorentz TEM in which spherical aberration and defocus are dominant aberrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-56
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Lorentz transmission electron microscopy
  • Magnetic phase reconstruction
  • Transport of intensity equation


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