Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nanomicroscopy reveals the collective transport of gold atoms in real-time

07.02.2007
Researchers at Delft University of Technology used a High Resolution Electron Microscope to observe in real-time the collective transportation of gold atoms in a thin layer.

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!
Further information:
http://www.tudelft.nl

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms
25.04.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor
24.04.2017 | DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>