This research illustrates the rapid progress that is currently being made by real-time nano-microscopy. Within 5 years this research area should be able to take the step from the laboratory to realistic conditions, and this will open up a wealth of possibilities for industry and the medical world.
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.
Frank Nuijens | EurekAlert!
Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect
24.05.2017 | Vienna University of Technology
Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect
24.05.2017 | University of Cologne
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
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...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
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...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.05.2017 | Event News