In this research project, which was conducted by Delft University of Technology's Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, a small group of gold atoms were placed on a gold surface. The Delft researchers then used a High Resolution Electron Microscope (HREM) to show in real-time how this group of atoms collectively sank into the underlying layer of atoms (see the short film at http://virtuallab.nano.tudelft.nl/movies/audis/) and then became arranged in the shape of a surface dislocation (which is an extra row of atoms that is 'squeezed' between the other rows of atoms).
At a later stage, the dislocation disappears, as if a string of beads has been pulled away lengthwise. According to Professor Henny Zandbergen, this is the first time that such a phenomenon has been observed in real-time. This was possible due to the progress that has been made in recent years in image-forming techniques and the processing of the data.
Atomic calculations validated and certified the observation mechanism: for this, Delft University of Technology worked in close cooperation with Princeton University (USA). The research results were published in Physical Review Letters. According to Professor Zandbergen, the observable manner in which the atoms arranged themselves in the underlying layer and the movement of the dislocation (see film) is, in principle, an attractive way of transporting materials from the upper layer to the underlying layer and also within the underlying layer. Normally - and as comprehensively detailed in scientific literature - before an atom can 'hop' from one layer to the underlying layer, certain energy barriers exist. But such barriers do not exist with this manner of transport. The findings of this TU Delft research project clearly indicate that when people are modelling the (industrial) production of thin layers, they must also consider this type of collective processes.
Zandbergen's research is a typical example of the rapid progress currently being made by nano-microscopy, or nano-imaging. Nano-microscopy – the observation of individual atoms or molecules - is becoming increasingly more accurate and faster. It is now possible to observe the movements of atoms in real-time, and this allows the position of the atoms to be determined with great precision (approximately 0.01 nm). So far, this has primarily been observed under laboratory conditions. But soon live nano-imaging will take the next step to realistic and industrial conditions: real-life, real-time nano-imaging.
This will open up a wealth of possibilities for all kinds of medical and industrial applications, especially for those that involve a combination of various nano-imaging technologies and conventional optical microscopy. This will allow information about the different length scales to be combined. It will then be possible to follow the biological processes very realistically, and this will also provide many excellent opportunities for industry. One example is catalysis research. Real-life, real-time nano-imaging allows for closer observation of the catalysis processes, with the logical consequences of this being better catalysts and more efficient chemical processes. In the Netherlands, Delft University of Technology, Leiden University and the microscope manufacturing company FEI, are conducting joint research in nano-microscopy.
The short film about the collective transport of gold atoms can be viewed at: http://virtuallab.nano.tudelft.nl/movies/audis/.
Significantly more productivity in USP lasers
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
Shape matters when light meets atom
05.12.2016 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
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07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
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07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine