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Graphene paves way for nanoparticle imaging system

27 Jul 2015  | R. Colin Johnson

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"The atomic structure of the quantum dots including their shape, surface facets and internal defects are critical parameters to tuning their properties. Our method could be used to determine the structural properties of quantum dots and thus improve their design for applications including photonics," Ercius said.

Ercius' group's next step at LBNL will be to use a faster 400 frames-per-second camera to more accurately construct 3D models over the 2nm accuracy they have today, eventually producing the atomic-scale accuracy desired by nanoparticle designers.

Peter Ercius

Peter Ercius with the TEAM I electron microscope at the Molecular Foundry's National Center for Electron Microscopy. (Source: Roy Kaltschmidt/LBNL)

"Our next step is to push the technique to locate all of the atoms in a single element used in a particle. New cameras now installed on our TEM allow 10-times faster acquisition and higher quality pictures which should allow us to reach this goal," Ercius told us. "We also plan to explore how large of a particle we can reconstruct."

Eventually, the technique could be used to assemble complete electronic and photonic materials and even complete devices, using a bottom-up method that marries different components by encoding the surfaces of each nanoparticle so they snap-together automatically.

SINGLE was invented by a multi-institutional team of researchers funded by the U.S. Department of Energy at LBNL. Also contributing to the work was Berkeley Lab director Paul Alvisatos at the Molecular Foundry and director of the Kavli Energy NanoScience Institute at Berkeley (Kavli ENSI). Other contributors include Professor Jungwon Park of Harvard University, Professor Hans Elmlund of Australia's Monash University, along with post-doc and doctoral candidates Jong Min Yuk, David Limmer, Qian Chen, Kwanpyo Kim, Sang Hoon Han, David Weitz and Alex Zettl.


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