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Single-particle reconstruction can be used to perform three-dimensional (3D) imaging of homogeneous populations of nano-sized objects, in particular viruses and proteins. Here, it is demonstrated that it can also be used to obtain 3D reconstructions of heterogeneous populations of inorganic nanoparticles. An automated acquisition scheme in a scanning transmission electron microscope is used to collect images of thousands of nanoparticles. Particle images are subsequently semi-automatically clustered in terms of their properties and separate 3D reconstructions are performed from selected particle image clusters. The result is a 3D dataset that is representative of the full population. The study demonstrates a methodology that allows 3D imaging and analysis of inorganic nanoparticles in a fully automated manner that is truly representative of large particle populations.
The new generation of energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) detectors with higher count rates than ever before, paves the way for a new approach to quantitative elemental analysis in the scanning transmission electron microscope. Here we demonstrate a method of calculating partial cross sections for use in quantifying EDX data, beneficial especially because of the simplicity of its implementation. Applying this approach to acid-leached PtCo catalyst nanoparticles leads to quantitative determination of the Pt surface enrichment.
Single wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) and liquid-phase exfoliated multilayer graphene (MLG) material thin films were assembled at a polarizable organic/water interface. A simple, spontaneous route to functionalize/decorate the interfacial assembly of MLG and SWCNTs with noble metal nanoparticles, at the interface between two immiscible electrolyte solutions (ITIES), is reported. The formation of MLG- or SWCNT-based metal nanocomposites was confirmed using various microscopic (scanning electron, transmission electron, and atomic force microscopy) and several spectroscopic (energy dispersive x-ray and Raman spectroscopy) techniques. Increasing the interfacial deposition time of the metal nanoparticles on the assembled low-dimensional carbon material increased the amount of the metal particles/structures, resulting in greater coverage of the MLG or SWCNTs with metal nanoparticles. This low-cost and convenient solution chemistry based impregnation method can serve as a means to prepare nanoscale carbonaceous material-based metal nanocomposites for their potential exploitation as electro-active materials, e.g., new generation catalysts or electrode materials.
The use of analytical spectroscopies during scanning/transmission electron microscope (S/TEM) investigations of micro- and nano-scale structures has become a routine technique in the arsenal of tools available to today’s materials researchers. Essential to implementation and successful application of spectroscopy to characterization is the integration of numerous technologies, which include electron optics, specimen holders, and associated detectors. While this combination has been achieved in many instrument configurations, the integration of X-ray energy-dispersive spectroscopy and in situ liquid environmental cells in the S/TEM has to date been elusive. In this work we present the successful incorporation/modifications to a system that achieves this functionality for analytical electron microscopy.
Tilted illumination exit-wave restoration is compared for two aberration-corrected instruments at different accelerating voltages. The experimental progress of this technique is also reviewed and the significance of off-axial aberrations examined. Finally, the importance of higher order aberration compensation combined with careful correction of the lower order aberrations is highlighted.
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