Research Group

Personal Data & Academic Degrees

  • Place & date of birth: Brasschaat, 23-10-1987
  • Master Sc. Physics: University of Antwerp , 2010
  • Ph.D. Physics: "Quantitative atomic resolution electron microscopy using advanced statistical techniques", University of Antwerp, 2015.

Scientific Career

  • 2010-2015: Ph.D researcher in Physics at the University of Antwerp
  • 2015-now: FWO Postdoc at EMAT, University of Antwerp, Belgium
  • 2017: Outstanding PhD Award in the field of Instrumentation and methods - Royal Belgian Society for Microscopy (RBSM)
  • 2017: PhD Competition Award - International Society for Stereology and Image Analysis (ISSIA)
  • 2019: Academic Award University of Antwerp: Research Board Award - Frans Verbeure

Main topics of Interest

My research focuses on new developments in the field of model-based atomic resolution electron microscopy aiming at quantitative structure characterisation of nanostructures with the highest possible precision using advanced statistical techniques. My main topics of interest are: 

  • Quantitative and model-based electron microscopy in 2D and 3D
  • Statistical parameter estimation theory
  • Statistical experimental design
  • Application of quantitative methods to advanced materials

Key publications

Science communication


Three-Dimensional Quantification of the Facet Evolution of Pt Nanoparticles in a Variable Gaseous Environment
T. Altantzis, I. Lobato, A. De Backer, A. Béché, Y. Zhang, S. Basak, M. Porcu, Q. Xu, A. Sánchez-Iglesias, L.M. Liz-Marzán, G. Van Tendeloo, S. Van Aert and, S. Bals
Nano Letters 19 (2019) 477-481

Three-dimensional atomic models from a single projection using Z-contrast imaging: verification by electron tomography and opportunities
A. De Backer, L. Jones, I. Lobato, T. Altantzis, B. Goris, P.D. Nellist, S. Bals, and S. Van Aert
Nanoscale 9 (2017) 8791-8798

StatSTEM: An efficient approach for accurate and precise model-based quantification of atomic resolution electron microscopy images
A. De Backer, K.H.W. van den Bos, W. Van den Broek, J. Sijbers, and S. Van Aert
Ultramicroscopy 171 (2016) 104-116

Unscrambling Mixed Elements using High Angle Annular Dark Field Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy
K.H.W. van den Bos, A. De Backer, G.T. Martinez, N. Winckelmans, S. Bals, P.D. Nellist, and Sandra Van Aert
Physical Review Letters 116 (2016) 246101

Advanced electron crystallography through model-based imaging
Van Aert S., A. De Backer, G.T. Martinez, A.J. den Dekker, D. Van Dyck, S. Bals, and G. Van Tendeloo.
IUCrJ 3 (2016) 71-83

Measuring lattice strain in three dimensions through electron microscopy
B. Goris, J. De Beenhouwer, A. De Backer, D. Zanaga, K.J. Batenburg, A. Sánchez-Iglesias, L.M. Liz-Marzan, S. Van Aert, S. Bals, J. Sijbers, and G. Van Tendeloo.
Nano Letters 15 (2015) 6996-7001

Three-Dimensional Elemental Mapping at the Atomic Scale in Bimetallic Nanocrystals
B. Goris, A. De Backer, S. Gómez-Graña, L.M. Liz-Marzán, G. Van Tendeloo, and S. Bals
Nano Letters 13 (2013) 4236-4241

Procedure to count atoms with trustworthy single-atom sensitivity
S. Van Aert, A. De Backer, G.T. Martinez, B. Goris, S. Bals, and G. Van Tendeloo
and A. Rosenauer.
Physical review B 87 (2013) 064107

Atom counting in HAADF STEM using a statistical model-based approach: methodology, possibilities, and inherent limitations
A. De Backer, G.T. Martinez, A. Rosenauer, and S. Van Aert
Ultramicroscopy 134 (2013) 23-33