Over the past few decades, the development of electron microscopy has gone hand in hand with techniques for atomically precise fabrication of 3D structures based on electron and ion beams. A recent review article illustrates the use of focused electron and ion beams (e-beams and i-beams) to induce highly localized chemical reactions at solid-vapor and solid-liquid interfaces, amorphous to crystalline phase transformations with atomic layer precision, and the motion of specific single dopant atoms within crystal lattices, thus laying the foundation for atomically precise directed assembly of materials and devices.
The drawbacks of existing measures for calibrating scanning probe microscopes (SPMs) based on various diffraction gratings and periodic microstructures, are large period and large error of period. Both factors prevent using these measures for precise calibration of SPMs and other instruments operating in the nanometer range. To address this issue, researchers have developed a method of calibration of a scanning probe microscope by lattice constant of a crystal.
Catalytic nanoparticles play a crucial role in accelerating chemical reactions by offering their active sites and surfaces. Fine-tuning their surface structure during synthesis and phase transformations can enhance their catalytic activity and durability by manifolds. However, control and feedback on the synthesis/transformation studies demand characterization techniques that can provide structural and compositional information on the atomic level.
Imagine the possibility of non-invasive, non-radiation based Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in combating cardiac disease. Researchers are developing a process that would use nanotechnology in a novel, targeted approach that would allow MRIs to be more descriptive and brighter, and to target specific organs. By using nanoparticle-based MRI positive contrast agents, you can specifically target different tissues or organs, you can control active component loading, and you can generate bright or hyperintense anatomical view of the tissue.
The development of nanoscale devices and applications requires ultra-sensitive sensing systems that can offer not only atomic resolution imaging but also sub nanometer scale displacement detection, zeptogram level mass sensing, or single bio-molecular sensing. Researchers have now developed a novel sensor that addresses some of the shortcomings that have plagued existing optical scanning systems , namely size, complexity, and cost. This sensing technology is completely electrical and capable of sensing very small displacement as low as in the femtometer range.
Researchers report a non-destructive and high throughput 3D imaging of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) embedded in polymer matrix via Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). While have been several open questions remaining for SEM subsurface imaging of CNTs, this new findings clarify these issues and help establish SEM subsurface imaging as a useful and facile method to provide quantitative 3D information on CNT dispersions in polymer composites.
The surface force balance (SFB) provides measurements of surface and colloidal forces in liquids such as electrostatic surface forces, van der Waals forces, and solvation forces. Until now, the SFB required mica sheets as the substrate for measurements. This was the only material available in an atomically smooth state over centimeter-scale areas as well as being optically transparent as required for the optical interferometry. By replacing the mica sheets with graphene, electrically conducting and atomically smooth surfaces for the measurement of surface forces have now been created.
Researchers have demonstrated a new imaging technique that is a marriage between two powerful methods and it promises simultaneous spatial and elemental information of the samples down to the atomic scale. By combining scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) with synchrotron X-ray microscopy, there is now an instrument (SX-STM) that has the potential to perform all the applications of STM and X-rays in a single setting at the ultimate atomic limit.