Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A new look below the surface of nanomaterials

17.08.2011
Scientists can now look deeper into new materials to study their structure and behavior, thanks to work by an international group of researchers led by UC Davis and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and published Aug. 14 by the journal Nature Materials.

The technique will enable more detailed study of new types of materials for use in electronics, energy production, chemistry and other applications.

The technique, called angle-resolved photoemission, has been used since the 1970s to study materials, especially properties such as semiconductivity, superconductivity and magnetism. But the technique allows probing to a depth of only about a nanometer beneath the surface of a material, a limit imposed by the strong inelastic scattering of the emitted electrons.

The breakthrough work of the UC Davis/LBNL team made use of the high-intensity X-ray source operated by the Japanese National Institute for Materials Sciences at the SPring8 synchrotron radiation facility in Hyogo, Japan, and allowed researchers to look far deeper into a material, providing more information and reducing surface effects.

"We can now take this to much higher energies than previously thought," said Chuck Fadley, professor of physics at UC Davis and the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, who is senior author of the paper.

The technique is based on the photoelectric effect described by Einstein in 1905: When a photon is shot into a material, it knocks out an electron. By measuring the angle, energy and perhaps the spin of the ejected electrons, scientists can learn in detail about electron motion and bonding in the material.

Previously, the technique used energies of about 10 to 150 electron-volts. Working at the Japanese facility, Fadley and his colleagues were able to boost that to as high as 6,000 electron-volts — energies that increased the probing depth up to 20-fold.

Thanks to recent advances in electron optics, the team was also able to collect accurate information using specially designed spectrometers — effectively cameras for electrons.

The spectrometer is rather like a pinhole camera, Fadley noted. It's easy to get a sharp image with a pinhole camera by keeping the entrance opening small. Open up this aperture and a lot more light is admitted, but a clear image becomes more difficult to extract. But new developments in electron optics, particularly in Sweden, have made it possible to detect sufficient electrons to carry out such experiments.

Several high-powered X-ray sources are now running or being built in Europe and Asia, although none are yet planned in the U.S., Fadley said. The new technique could be used both for basic and commercial research on new materials for electronics and technology.

Fadley noted that he had first proposed the idea of using a high-intensity X-ray source to look more deeply beneath the surface of materials around 1980, but neither the X-ray sources nor the spectrometers existed to make the experiment feasible.

Important theoretical contributions to the work were made by Warren Picket, professor and chair of physics at UC Davis, and his research team, and Hubert Ebert of Ludwig Maximillian University, and his research team in Munich. Picket and Ebert are both co-authors of the paper.

Other co-authors are Alexander Gray, Christian Papp, and Benjamin Balke at UC Davis and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, with Papp now at the University of Erlangen and Balke now at the University of Mainz; Erik Ylvisaker at UC Davis; Shigenori Ueda, Yoshiyuki Yamashita, and Keisuke Kobayashi at the National Institute for Material Science, Hyogo, Japan; Lukasz Plucinski and Claus Schneider at the Peter Gruenberg Institute, Juelich, Germany; and Jan Minár and Juergen Braun at Ludwig Maximillian University, Munich, Germany.

The work was funded by the Nanotechnology Network Project of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, with additional financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung in Germany.

Andy Fell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucdavis.edu

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht New approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen
22.05.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht Photocatalyst makes hydrogen production 10 times more efficient
19.05.2017 | Kobe University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

Im Focus: Hydrogen Bonds Directly Detected for the First Time

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

Media accreditation opens for historic year at European Health Forum Gastein

16.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen

22.05.2017 | Materials Sciences

Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus

22.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Experts explain origins of topographic relief on Earth, Mars and Titan

22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>