Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

“Explosive” Atom Movement Is New Window Into Growing Metal Nanostructures

08.04.2015

“The textbook said we should see slow, gradual and random. But what we saw? BOOM! Fast, explosive and organized!” said Michael Tringides, physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory and a professor of physics and astronomy at Iowa State University.

Tringides is talking about the unusual atom movement he saw when they dropped a few thousand lead atoms onto a flat, smooth lead-on-silicon surface, all at low temperatures, and looked at an area just one-twentieth the width of a human hair.


U.S. Dept. of Energy's Ames Laboratory

Ames Laboratory scientists observed lead atoms unexpectedly moving collectively on a lead-on-silicon surface to "explosively" form metal nanostructures, all at low temperatures. The area shown here is about one-twentieth of the width of a human hair.

What the Ames Laboratory scientists expected to see was “random-walk diffusion”: atoms milling around, looking like they have no idea where they’re going, where they’ve been, or that any fellow atoms are near them. Typically, the atoms eventually happen to run into each other and create small structures.

“Instead, we saw atoms that are very focused and work together well to quickly create tiny lead nanostructures,” said Tringides. “That kind of ‘collective diffusion,’ is really the exception to the rule in atom movement. Plus, we were surprised by how fast well-organized crystal structures nucleate at such cold temperatures, where movement is typically slow.”

The collective, fast diffusion observed by Tringides’ team could represent a new way to grow perfect, tiny metal nanostructures.

“If we’re able to make a nanoscale lead object this fast, we can perhaps create other objects this way.” said Tringides. “Understanding the basic science of how materials work at these nanoscales may be key to making nanotransistors, nanoswitches and nanomagnets smaller, faster and reliably.”

Tringides’ research team specializes in measuring how atoms move on surfaces, revealing through scanning tunneling microscopy how the smallest structures begin to form. Over the past several years, they’ve used their expertise to answer fundamental questions about materials, such as rare-earths, graphene and metallic films, that are important to green energy technologies.

This research, which appeared in Physical Review Letters, is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.

Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory operated by Iowa State University. Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global problems.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov

Contact Information
Breehan Gerleman Lucchesi
Communications specialist
breehan@ameslab.gov
Phone: 515-294-9750

Breehan Gerleman Lucchesi | newswise
Further information:
http://www.ameslab.gov

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht New materials: Growing polymer pelts
19.11.2018 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)

nachricht Why geckos can stick to walls
19.11.2018 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Researchers find social cultures in chimpanzees

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

When AI and optoelectronics meet: Researchers take control of light properties

20.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>