An international team combined atomic resolution TEM, advanced detectors, and advanced algorithms to reconstruct rotating nanoparticles in solution at atomic resolution.
Significance and Impact
Solving the 3D structure of materials is requisite for understanding and predicting physical properties. A new method called 3D SINGLE was developed that revealed critical insights into the 3D atomic structure of Pt nanocrystals in solution.
- The research team used graphene to encapsulate Pt NPs in solution in the vacuum of the TEM. Rapid imaging of the NPs provided many viewing directions used to reconstruct their 3D structure.
- The atomic structure was analyzed showing critical differences from the expected bulk Pt structure. The team found structural degeneracies, lattice parameter deviations, internal defects and strain.
- These differences produce substantial changes in the free energies of these NPs which must be considered to fully understand their fundamental properties and applications.