Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

What lies beneath: mapping hidden nanostructures

13.02.2012
A new method to map nanostructures within materials may lead to biological imaging of the internal organization of cells

The ability to diagnose and predict the properties of materials is vital, particularly in the expanding field of nanotechnology. Electron and atom-probe microscopy can categorize atoms in thin sheets of material, and in small areas of thicker samples, but it has proven far more difficult to map the constituents of nanostructures inside large, thick objects. X-rays—the most common imaging tool for hard biological materials such as bones—have a limited focal-spot size, so they cannot focus on nanoscale objects.


Figure 1: Images of gold/silver nanoparticles, acquired using a combined method of x-ray ptychography and anomalous x-ray diffraction. Copyright : 2012 Yukio Takahashi

Now, Yukio Takahashi and colleagues at Osaka University, together with researchers at Nagoya University and the RIKEN SPring-8 center in Hyogo, have succeeded for the first time in producing two-dimensional images of nanostructures encased in thick materials on a large scale1. Their work was possible because they designed a new x-ray diffraction microscopy system that does not require a lens.

“The main challenges in this work were to realize x-ray diffraction microscopy with a high resolution and a large field of view, then extend it to element-specific imaging,” Takahashi explains. “We achieved this by establishing a scanning x-ray diffraction imaging technique called x-ray ptychography.”

Ptychography involves taking images of an object that overlap with one another on a series of coinciding lattice points. The researchers combined this technique with x-rays, and included a system to compensate for the drifting of optics during imaging. Takahashi and his colleagues focused the x-rays using so-called ‘Kirkpatrick–Baez mirrors’ that allowed them to collect high-quality diffraction data.
Their system monitors the changes in the diffraction of x-rays at two different energies. The degree of phase difference between the two x-ray energies changes significantly at the absorption edge of the target element. This is related to the atomic number of the element, meaning that the elements present in the material can be identified. To verify that their system works, the researchers deposited gold/silver nanoparticles around 200 nanometers in size on a silicon nitride membrane, and produced high-resolution and large-scale images of the particles. The resolutions were better than 10 nanometers (Fig. 1).

“One of the practical applications [of this technique] in future is the possible observation of cells,” explains Takahashi. “The shape of a whole cell and the spatial distribution of [its] organelles could be three-dimensionally visualized at 10 nanometer resolution—to provide key insights into the organization inside cells. We hope to see this technique being used in biological and materials science in future.”

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the SR Imaging Instrumentation Unit, RIKEN SPring-8 Center

gro-pr | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.riken.jp
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Heating quantum matter: A novel view on topology
22.08.2017 | Université libre de Bruxelles

nachricht Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form
18.08.2017 | Cornell University

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>