ISO 25498:2010 specifies the method of selected-area electron diffraction (SAED) analysis using a transmission electron microscope (TEM) to analyse micrometer and sub-micrometer sized areas of thin crystalline specimens. Such specimens can be obtained in the form of thin sections from a variety of metallic and non-metallic materials, as well as fine powders, or alternatively by the use of extraction replicas. The minimum diameter of the selected area in a specimen which can be analysed by this method depends on the spherical aberration coefficient of the objective lens of the microscope and approaches 0,5 mm for a modern TEM.
When the diameter of an analysed specimen area is smaller than 0,5 mm, the analysis procedure can also be referred to ISO 25498:2010 but, because of the effect of spherical aberration, some of the diffraction information in the pattern can be generated from outside of the area defined by the selected-area aperture. In such cases, the use of microdiffraction or convergent beam electron diffraction, where available, might be preferred.
The success of the selected-area electron diffraction method relies on the validity of indexing the diffraction patterns arising, irrespective of which axis in the specimen lies parallel to the incident electron beam. Such analysis is therefore aided by specimen tilt and rotation facilities.
ISO 25498:2010 is applicable to acquisition of SAED patterns from crystalline specimens, indexing the patterns and calibration of the diffraction constant.