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Researchers Reveal Atomic Structure of Nanoparticle in Unprecedented Detail
Molecular Foundry scientists and users determine the precise 3D location and identity of all 23,000 atoms in an iron-platinum nanoparticle
Significance and Impact
The technique revealed chemical order and disorder in individual grains, shedding light on the material’s properties, which could lead to new ways to improve its magnetic performance for use in high-density, next-generation hard drives.
- Foundry scientists used one of the highest-resolution transmission electron microscopes in the world, called TEAM I, located at the Molecular Foundry, to obtain a series of 2D projections of the nanoparticle’s atomic structure, each one rotated by a few degrees.
- Users converted the 2D projections into a 3D map utilizing a sophisticated computer algorithm.
- They found that the particle was made up of 6,569 iron atoms and 16,627 platinum atoms, with each atom’s coordinates precisely plotted with a resolution of 22 picometers.
Y. Yang, C-C. Chen, M. C. Scott, C. Ophus, R. Xu, A. Pryor, L. Wu, F. Sun, W. Theis, J. Zhou, M. Eisenbach, P. R. C. Kent, R. F. Sabirianov, H. Zeng, P. Ercius & J. Miao, Nature. 2017 Feb 1;542(7639):75-79.