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Growth spurts
Date:8/7/2009

chemist who holds joint appointments with Berkeley Lab and the University of California at Berkeley where he is the Larry and Diane Bock professor of Nanotechnology, "This direct observation of nanocrystal growth trajectories revealed a set of pathways more complex than those previously envisioned and enables us to re-think the nanocrystal growth mechanism with an eye towards more controlled synthesis."

The Science paper was titled: "Observation of Single Colloidal Platinum Nanocrystal Growth Trajectories." Co-authoring this paper with Zheng, Alivisatos and Dahmen were Rachel Smith, Young-wook Jun and Christian Kisielowski.

Nanocrystals are projected to play important roles in a wide-ranging number of technologies including solar and fuel cell, catalysis, electronics and photonics, medicine, and imaging and sensing. The key to success will be the ability to synthesis nanocrystals with desired physical properties. This will require a much better understanding of colloidal nanocrystal growth mechanisms. While the past two decades have seen tremendous advances in the synthesis of semiconductor, metal and dielectric nanocrystals, these advances have generally been realized through trial and error chemistry. A much more directed and controlled approach to nanocrystal synthesis is needed.

A new technique known as "liquid cell in situ transmission electron microscopy," in which the powerful resolution capabilities of a transmission electron microscope (TEM) are brought to bear on a liquid cell that allows liquids to be observed inside a vacuum, enables the visualization of single nanoparticles in solution. The Berkeley researchers deployed this technique on NCEM's JEOL 3010 In-Situ microscope. Utilizing an electron beam operating at 300 kilovolts of energy, the JEOL 3010 provides outstanding specimen penetration and spatial resolution of about 8 angstroms through the thick liquid cell sample.

"The JEOL 3010 In-Situ Microscope is
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Contact: Lynn Yarris
lcyarris@lbl.gov
510-486-5375
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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