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Structures comprising single-crystal, iron-carbon-based nanowires encapsulated by multiwall carbon nanotubes self-organize on inert substrates exposed to the products of ferrocene pyrolysis at high temperature. The most commonly observed encapsulated phases are Fe3C, α-Fe, and γ-Fe. The observation of anomalously long-period lattice spacings in these nanowires has caused confusion since reflections from lattice spacings of ≥0.4 nm are kinematically forbidden for Fe3C, most of the rarely observed, less stable carbides, α-Fe, and γ-Fe. Through high-resolution electron microscopy, selective area electron diffraction, and electron energy loss spectroscopy we demonstrate that the observed long-period lattice spacings of 0.49, 0.66, and 0.44 nm correspond to reflections from the (100), (010), and (001) planes of orthorhombic Fe3C (space group Pnma). Observation of these forbidden reflections results from dynamic scattering of the incident beam as first observed in bulk Fe3C crystals. With small amounts of beam tilt these reflections can have significant intensities for crystals containing glide planes such as Fe3C with space groups Pnma or Pbmn.
The twin interface structure in twinning superlattice InP nanowires with zincblende structure has been investigated using electron exit wavefunction restoration from focal series images recorded on an aberration-corrected transmission electron microscope. By comparing the exit wavefunction phase with simulations from model structures, it was possible to determine the twin structure to be the ortho type with preserved In-P bonding order across the interface. The bending of the thin nanowires away from the intended ⟨110⟩ axis could be estimated locally from the calculated diffraction pattern, and this parameter was successfully taken into account in the simulations.
We describe the production of hierarchical branched nanowire structures by the sequential seeding of multiple wire generations with metal nanoparticles. Such complex structures represent the next step in the study of functional nanowires, as they increase the potential functionality of nanostructures produced in a self-assembled way. It is possible, for example, to fabricate a variety of active heterostructure segments with different compositions and diameters within a single connected structure. The focus of this work is on epitaxial III-V semiconductor branched nanowire structures, with the two materials GaP and In As used as typical examples of branched structures with cubic (zinc blende) and hexagonal (wurtzite) crystal structures. The general morphology of these structures will be described, as well as the relationship between morphology and crystal structure.
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