The distribution and movement of charge is fundamental to many physical phenomena, particularly for applications involving nanoparticles, nanostructures, and electronic devices. However, there are very few ways of quantifying charge at the necessary length scale.
Here, we show that aberration-corrected electron holography is capable of counting the charge on individual nanoparticles to a precision of one elementary unit of charge. We present a method that measures charges within predefined contours by directly applying Gauss's law at the nanoscale. We perform a statistical analysis to reveal the relationship between the size of the contours and the precision of the charge measurement and present strategies to optimize the spatial and signal resolution for the presented method.
Counting Elementary Charges on Nanoparticles by Electron Holography, C. Gatel1, A. Lubk 1,2, G. Pozzi 3, E. Snoeck1, et M. Hytch 1, Physical Review Letters 111, 025501 (2013)