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.