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Elastic scattering means that the electron energy lost by the primary electron is too small to be detected. Simply speaking, the elastic scattering of electrons occurs mainly from electron interaction with the atomic nuclei or the whole electrostatic field of the atoms. The elastic scattering is responsible for electron diffraction from the specimens in TEM.
Elastic scattering is represented by the peak at zero energy loss, illustrated in EELS profiles, and and is often described in terms of Rutherford scattering from atoms or ions. For single scattering, elastic scattering can be treated as independent atomic scattering events and the crosssection of the scattering can be extracted by the relation,
1/λ = Nσ  [4108]
where,
N = ρ/(Am)
N  The atomic density,
ρ  The mass density,
A  The dimensionless atomic mass,
m  The proton mass.
Thermal diffuse scattering (TDS) can also be described by elastic scattering modified by the atomic vibrations.
Table 4108a shows that electrons interact with 1 electron, many electrons, 1 nucleus, and many nuclei in solids.
Table 4108a. Effects of interactions of electrons in solids.

Interaction with electron(s) 
Interaction with nucleus/nuclei 

1 electron 
Many electrons 
1 nucleus 
Many nuclei 
Scattering type 
Inelastic 
Inelastic 
Quasielastic 
Elastic 
Inelastic 
Scattering effect 
Electron Compton effect; electron excitation (from 50 eV to a few keV: EDS and EELS) 
Plasmon excitation (< 50 eV, ~100 nm TEM specimen); Cerenkov effect 
Rutherford scattering; phonon scattering (< 1 eV, heat) 
Bragg scattering 
Bremsstrahlung 
Kikuchi lines are more pronounced in CBED patterns than in SAD patterns because: i) CBED patterns arise from a smaller, and thus more uniform region than SAD patterns,
ii) The enhancement of coherent and elastic scattering in CBED.
Table 4108b. Electron scattering from a specimen in TEM measurements (Incoherent does not imply inelastic scattering; however, inelastic scattering is necessarily incoherent in EM measurements). 
Scattering type 
Energy loss 
Wave (phase) property 
Scattering direction 
Scattering angle 
Electron property 
Full name 
Elastic 
No energy change of the wave after scattering 
Usually coherent (when the specimen
is thin and crystalline) 
Forward
scattering 
1° ~ 10° 
Wave 
Coherent elastic scattering 
Incoherent 
> 10° 
Particle 
Incoherent elastic scattering 
Back scattering 

Inelastic 
There is energy change of the wave after scattering 
Almost always incoherent 
Forward
scattering 
< 1° 
Incoherent inelastic scattering 
Coherent 
Does not exist in EM measurement, but it shows in neutron scattering 


Coherent inelastic scattering 
* Incoherence does not
imply inelastic scattering, while inelastic electron scattering is incoherent in electron microscopy.
** Inelastic scattering is not necessarily
incoherent in neutron scattering. 
