Four-Dimensional Ultrafast Electron Microscopy: Insights into an Emerging Technique

Aniruddha Adhikari, Jeffrey K. Eliason, Jingya Sun, Riya Bose, David J. Flannigan, Omar F. Mohammed

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Four-dimensional ultrafast electron microscopy (4D-UEM) is a novel analytical technique that aims to fulfill the long-held dream of researchers to investigate materials at extremely short spatial and temporal resolutions by integrating the excellent spatial resolution of electron microscopes with the temporal resolution of ultrafast femtosecond laser-based spectroscopy. The ingenious use of pulsed photoelectrons to probe surfaces and volumes of materials enables time-resolved snapshots of the dynamics to be captured in a way hitherto impossible by other conventional techniques. The flexibility of 4D-UEM lies in the fact that it can be used in both the scanning (S-UEM) and transmission (UEM) modes depending upon the type of electron microscope involved. While UEM can be employed to monitor elementary structural changes and phase transitions in samples using real-space mapping, diffraction, electron energy-loss spectroscopy, and tomography, S-UEM is well suited to map ultrafast dynamical events on materials surfaces in space and time. This review provides an overview of the unique features that distinguish these techniques and also illustrates the applications of both S-UEM and UEM to a multitude of problems relevant to materials science and chemistry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-16
Number of pages14
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 11 2017


  • 4D ultrafast electron microscopy
  • atomic resolution
  • charge carrier dynamics
  • electron impact dynamics
  • energy loss mechanism
  • surface dynamics


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