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New Technique for Imaging Surface and Bulk Atoms
A team of users and staff at the Molecular Foundry developed a new analytic technique able to image the atoms that make up a material’s surface at the same time as those in the bulk.
Significance and Impact
The atomic structure of a surface is often very different from the bulk material, and controls the majority of chemical properties at the nanoscale including catalysis and corrosion.
- Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) is an excellent technique for studying surfaces but typically provides information only about topology at nanoscale resolution.
- During SEM imaging, secondary electrons are emitted, mostly from a material’s surface.
- High Resolution Secondary Electron Microscopy (HRSEM) utilizes a new theoretical framework to understand these secondary electrons, which enables atomic resolution imaging of the surface.
J. Ciston, H. G. Brown, A. J. D’Alfonso, P. Koirala, C. Ophus, Y. Lin, Y. Suzuki, H. Inada, Y. Zhu, L. J. Allen & L. D. Marks. Nat Commun., 2015 6, 7358.