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!
Hope to discover sure signs of life on Mars? New research says look for the element vanadium
22.09.2017 | University of Kansas
22.09.2017 | Forschungszentrum MATHEON ECMath
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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