Nanoscience and nanotechnology are closely intertwined subjects that are attracting ever-increasing attention, both in the scientific world and in the marketplace. Major developments in growth and synthesis methods mean that atoms can nowadays be manipulated in a controlled fashion to produce novel properties that are often not found in bulk materials. Techniques for locating and identifying atomic configurations within nanostructures become even more essential in the relentless drive towards realizing optimal physical behavior. In this regard, the electron microscope, with its intrinsic capacity for atomic-scale imaging and chemical analysis, has become an indispensable tool in the arsenal of the materials scientist interested in nanostructured materials. This article provides an overview of progress made towards achieving theoretical resolution limits in the electron microscope and discusses further factors that could affect the ultimate resolution attainable.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(09)70005-7