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New technique uses electrons to map nanoparticle atomic structures
Date:5/4/2012

d to obtain low- and high-resolution images and chemical information for nanostructures that is, the same TEM can be used to provide complementary kinds of information.

"The fact that the real-space images and the diffraction data suitable for structural analysis can be obtained at the same time from the same region of a material results in more complete information for the characterization of the sample," said Milinda Abeykoon, a postdoctoral researcher at Brookhaven and the first author of the paper.

In the current study, scientists working with co-author Mercouri Kanatzidis at Northwestern University and ANL synthesized nanocrystalline thin films and gold and sodium chloride (NaCl) nanoparticles and used a TEM at Northwestern to acquire PDFs of these samples. The Brookhaven/Columbia group studied similar samples using synchrotron x-rays at NSLS, and analyzed all the data before comparing the resulting PDFs and atomic structures.

The PDFs from the x-ray and electron data were highly similar.

"In some cases the strong electron scattering did introduce some distortions in the PDF, as originally feared," Billinge said. "However, surprisingly these problems only affected certain less important structural parameters and even resulted in an enhancement of the signal in a way that may be used in the future to yield a higher resolution measurement. That was an unexpected gift!"

The research team is continuing to look for ways to remove barriers to data processing to make the method more straightforward and move it from proof-of-principle concept into widespread standard use.


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Contact: Karen McNulty Walsh
kmcnulty@bnl.gov
631-344-8350
DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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