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1.
Nat Mater ; 18(9): 970-976, 2019 Sep.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31285617

RESUMO

Two-dimensional (2D) materials have attracted significant interest because of their large surface-to-volume ratios and electron confinement. Compared to common 2D materials such as graphene or metal hydroxides, with their intrinsic layered atomic structures, the formation mechanisms of 2D metal oxides with a rocksalt structure are not well understood. Here, we report the formation process for 2D cobalt oxide and cobalt nickel oxide nanosheets, after analysis by in situ liquid-phase transmission electron microscopy. Our observations reveal that three-dimensional (3D) nanoparticles are initially formed from the molecular precursor solution and then transform into 2D nanosheets. Ab initio calculations show that a small nanocrystal is dominated by positive edge energy, but when it grows to a certain size, the negative surface energy becomes dominant, driving the transformation of the 3D nanocrystal into a 2D structure. Uncovering these growth pathways, including the 3D-to-2D transition, provides opportunities for future material design and synthesis in solution.

2.
Nano Lett ; 18(10): 6427-6433, 2018 10 10.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30256644

RESUMO

Formation mechanisms of dendrite structures have been extensively explored theoretically, and many theoretical predictions have been validated for micro- or macroscale dendrites. However, it is challenging to determine whether classical dendrite growth theories are applicable at the nanoscale due to the lack of detailed information on the nanodendrite growth dynamics. Here, we study iron oxide nanodendrite formation using liquid cell transmission electron microscopy (TEM). We observe "seaweed"-like iron oxide nanodendrites growing predominantly in two dimensions on the membrane of a liquid cell. By tracking the trajectories of their morphology development with high spatial and temporal resolution, it is possible to explore the relationship between the tip curvature and growth rate, tip splitting mechanisms, and the effects of precursor diffusion and depletion on the morphology evolution. We show that the growth of iron oxide nanodendrites is remarkably consistent with the existing theoretical predictions on dendritic morphology evolution during growth, despite occurring at the nanoscale.

3.
Nat Mater ; 16(5): 532-536, 2017 05.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28218922

RESUMO

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are crystalline porous materials with designable topology, porosity and functionality, having promising applications in gas storage and separation, ion conduction and catalysis. It is challenging to observe MOFs with transmission electron microscopy (TEM) due to the extreme instability of MOFs upon electron beam irradiation. Here, we use a direct-detection electron-counting camera to acquire TEM images of the MOF ZIF-8 with an ultralow dose of 4.1 electrons per square ångström to retain the structural integrity. The obtained image involves structural information transferred up to 2.1 Å, allowing the resolution of individual atomic columns of Zn and organic linkers in the framework. Furthermore, TEM reveals important local structural features of ZIF-8 crystals that cannot be identified by diffraction techniques, including armchair-type surface terminations and coherent interfaces between assembled crystals. These observations allow us to understand how ZIF-8 crystals self-assemble and the subsequent influence of interfacial cavities on mass transport of guest molecules.

4.
Nat Commun ; 7: 10719, 2016 Feb 29.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26923483

RESUMO

The ability to image light elements in soft matter at atomic resolution enables unprecedented insight into the structure and properties of molecular heterostructures and beam-sensitive nanomaterials. In this study, we introduce a scanning transmission electron microscopy technique combining a pre-specimen phase plate designed to produce a probe with structured phase with a high-speed direct electron detector to generate nearly linear contrast images with high efficiency. We demonstrate this method by using both experiment and simulation to simultaneously image the atomic-scale structure of weakly scattering amorphous carbon and strongly scattering gold nanoparticles. Our method demonstrates strong contrast for both materials, making it a promising candidate for structural determination of heterogeneous soft/hard matter samples even at low electron doses comparable to traditional phase-contrast transmission electron microscopy. Simulated images demonstrate the extension of this technique to the challenging problem of structural determination of biological material at the surface of inorganic crystals.

5.
J Am Chem Soc ; 137(47): 14850-3, 2015 Dec 02.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26566690

RESUMO

We report an in situ study of Fe3Pt-Fe2O3 core-shell nanoparticle growth using liquid cell transmission electron microscopy. By controlling the Fe-to-Pt ratio in the precursor solution, we achieved the growth of nanoparticles with the formation of an iron-platinum alloy core followed by an iron oxide shell in the electron beam-induced reactions. There was no substantial change in the growth kinetics of the iron oxide shell after the Fe-Pt alloy core stopped growing. The core growth was arrested by depletion of the Pt precursor. Heteroepitaxy of Fe3Pt [101] (core)||α-Fe2O3 [111] (shell) was observed in most of the nanoparticles, while a polycrystalline iron oxide shell is developed eventually for strain relaxation. Our studies suggest that Pt atoms catalyze the reduction of Fe ions to form the Fe3Pt alloy core, and when Pt is depleted, a direct precipitation of iron oxide results in the core-shell nanostructure formation.

6.
Science ; 345(6199): 916-9, 2014 Aug 22.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25146287

RESUMO

An understanding of how facets of a nanocrystal develop is critical for controlling nanocrystal shape and designing novel functional materials. However, the atomic pathways of nanocrystal facet development are mostly unknown because of the lack of direct observation. We report the imaging of platinum nanocube growth in a liquid cell using transmission electron microscopy with high spatial and temporal resolution. The growth rates of all low index facets are similar until the {100} facets stop growth. The continuous growth of the rest facets leads to a nanocube. Our calculation shows that the much lower ligand mobility on the {100} facets is responsible for the arresting of {100} growing facets. These findings shed light on nanocrystal shape-control mechanisms and future design of nanomaterials.

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