Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > 'We're down to the atom size'

Abstract:
Cornell researchers discover how to focus on tiniest of the very small

'We're down to the atom size'

Posted on June 14, 2006

By Lauren Gold
lg34@cornell.edu

If you need a good picture of a molecule, your first job is getting its atoms to pose for you, says John Silcox, Cornell's David E. Burr Professor of Engineering and an expert in the realm of the very tiny.

But atoms are not willing subjects. They jiggle furiously, defying any microscopist who tries to catch them at a standstill. Nor are they polite: The larger atoms in a molecule typically overshadow the smaller ones, making it impossible to view the little ones.

Now, though, researchers at Cornell have developed a technique to get a closer-than-ever look at individual atoms within crystal molecules -- allowing them, for the first time, to see the polarity, or physical alignment, of those constituent atoms and to get a view of the smaller atoms.

The research -- by Cornell postdoctoral associate K. Andre Mkhoyan, Silcox and colleagues at Cornell, and Philip Batson of IBM -- is described in the June 2 issue of Science.

With the new technique, researchers can better predict the physical properties of a crystal at every point -- an advance that offers potential improvements in lasers and other devices, particularly at the nanoscale, where the structure of an individual molecule can determine a device's behavior.

To get their new and improved view, Mkhoyan's team used a scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) at IBM on samples of aluminum nitride, gallium nitride and other crystals with particular significance in nanotechnology research, in a chamber padded and shielded to reduce potentially atom-jiggling acoustic noise and electromagnetic radiation. Fitting the STEM with an aberration corrector (a focusing device) developed at Nion Co., they directed a 0.9 angstroms-wide electron beam at tiny crystal samples, collecting the scattered electrons on a ring-shaped detector and forming an image based on the resulting scatter pattern. (An angstrom is one hundred-millionth of a centimeter). Because larger atoms deflect electrons at a larger angle than small ones, the resulting data is relatively simple to interpret.

Used on a sample of aluminum nitride, the technique, called annular dark imaging, shows pear-shaped molecule columns with the larger aluminum atoms at the thicker end and the smaller nitrogen atoms at the narrower end. It is the first time the smaller atoms in such a structure have been caught in an image.

The key, said Silcox, is the narrowness of the scanning electron beam.

"We're down to the atom size, as opposed to the atom spacing," said Silcox. "We can start to see the light atom columns; we can characterize the crystal very nicely and precisely, at every place on the structure."

Mkhoyan said the inability to capture such images in the past has been a huge hurdle for nanotechnology researchers.

"The study and application of these lattice crystals are at the core of nanotechnology. Many papers are dedicated to synthesis and application of the nanoparticles -- quantum dots, rods, wires, you name it -- based on these materials," he said. "However, the performance of the devices is highly dependent on the structural quality of these nanoparticles.

"With our STEM annular dark field imaging, we come to the rescue," Mkhoyan added. "We can zoom in, pick up any region of the structure, and see how it behaves."

####

Contact:
Cornell University News Service/Chronicle Online
312 College Ave.
Ithaca, NY 14850
607.255.4206
cunews@cornell.edu

Copyright Cornell University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Materials/Metamaterials

Toyocolor to Launch New Carbon Nanotube Materials at nano tech 2015 January 24th, 2015

The latest fashion: Graphene edges can be tailor-made: Rice University theory shows it should be possible to tune material's properties January 24th, 2015

Silver nanowires demonstrate unexpected self-healing mechanism: The material has potential for flexible electronics January 23rd, 2015

Scientists 'bend' elastic waves with new metamaterials that could have commercial applications: Materials could benefit imaging and military enhancements such as elastic cloaking January 23rd, 2015

Announcements

Promising use of nanodiamonds in delivering cancer drug to kill cancer stem cells: NUS study shows that delivery of Epirubicin by nanodiamonds resulted in a normally lethal dosage of Epirubicin becoming a safe and effective dosage for treatment of liver cancer January 26th, 2015

GS7 Graphene Sensor maybe Solution in Fight Against Cancer January 25th, 2015

NANOPOSTER 2015 - 5th Virtual Nanotechnology Conference - call for abstracts January 24th, 2015

Nanosensor Used for Simultaneous Determination of Effective Tea Components January 24th, 2015

Tools

Graphene brings quantum effects to electronic circuits January 22nd, 2015

EnvisioNano: An image contest hosted by the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) January 22nd, 2015

New Molecular Beam Epitaxy deposition equipment at the ICN2 January 22nd, 2015

New method to generate arbitrary optical pulses January 21st, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE