Combining x-ray reflection together with high resolution x-ray microscopy, scientists can now study interactions at the nanometer-scale which often can exhibit different properties and lead to new insights. Improving our understanding of interactions at the nanoscale holds promise to help us cure the sick, protect our environment and make us more secure.
This novel technique will lead to a better understanding of interfacial reactions at surfaces, such as ion adsorption, corrosion, and catalytic reactions. In particular, this method extends the capability of x-ray microscopy to observe sub-nanometer-sized interfacial features directly and in real time. This non-invasive approach complements the more widely used scanning probe microscopies and can image the topography of a solid surface without using probe-tips near the surface.
Argonne researchers together with Xradia, a firm specializing in x-ray optics and x-ray microscope systems, have achieved sensitivity to sub-nanometer sized features by using a phenomenon known as phase contrast. This breakthrough makes it possible to look directly at individual steps on a solid surface, borrowing a technique used previously in electron microscopy, "The ability to see individual nanometer-scale features is an important benchmark for X-ray microscopy" states Paul Fenter, Argonne National Laboratory Physicist. "Understanding interfacial reactivity is vital to many areas of science and technology, from the corrosion of metals to the transport of contaminants in the environment." Steve Wang of Xradia adds, "This technique opens up the possibility of watching these processes directly and will provide fundamentally new opportunities for understanding them."
This is a significant advance towards understanding the reactivity of solid-surfaces. Future studies will extend these measurements to the observation of real-time processes of mineral surfaces in contact with water. Employing a novel x-ray microscope setup developed by Xradia, and measurements performed at Argonne's Advanced Photon Source, home of the most brilliant X-ray source in the Western Hemisphere, was central to the teams' success.
Eleanor Taylor | EurekAlert!
First direct observation and measurement of ultra-fast moving vortices in superconductors
20.07.2017 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information
19.07.2017 | Universität Basel
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
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Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
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