Molecular Foundry scientists and users have determined the 3D atomic structure of an amorphous solid.
Significance and Impact
This is the first time that the the 3D structure of any amorphous solid has been directly imaged with atomic resolution. Understanding the arrangement of atoms could enable better designs of materials like metallic glasses for applications in electronics, metal alloys, and consumer products.
- The research team used one of the highest-resolution transmission electron microscopes in the world, called TEAM 0.5, located at the Molecular Foundry, to create a 3D map of 18,000 atoms inside an 8 nanometer nanoparticle of amorphous metallic glass.
- The researchers expected the atoms to be arranged chaotically but found pockets where atoms had formed into ordered superclusters.
Y. Yang, J. Zhou, F. Zhu, Y. Yuan, D.J. Chang, D.S. Kim, M. Pham, A. Rana, X. Tian, T. Tao, S.J. Osher, AK Schmid, L. Hu, P. Ercius, J. Miao, Nature. 2021 592, 60-64. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03354-0
Read the news release on the first 3D imaging of an amorphous solid.