Observation of diffraction contrast in scanning helium microscopy.
Scanning helium microscopy is an emerging form of microscopy using thermal energy neutral helium atoms as the probe particle. The very low energy combined with lack of charge gives the technique great potential for studying delicate systems, and the possibility of several new forms of contrast. To date, neutral helium images have been dominated by topographic contrast, relating to the height and angle of the surface. Here we present data showing contrast resulting from specular reflection and diffraction of helium atoms from an atomic lattice of lithium fluoride. The signature for diffraction is evident by varying the scattering angle and observing sharp features in the scattered distribution. The data indicates the viability of the approach for imaging with diffraction contrast and suggests application to a wide variety of other locally crystalline materials.