3-D X-ray images of nanoparticles

Nov 27, 2006

A new X-ray microscope can look at nanomaterials in three dimensions.

Subhash Risbud, professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, John Miao from UCLA, and colleagues from Japan and Taiwan just published a paper in Physical Review Letters describing a new X-ray microscope that can look at nanomaterials in three dimensions. The device could be used for making better materials, for example for use in electronics, optics and biotechnology.

Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) has traditionally been used to study nanomaterials, but because electrons do not penetrate far into materials, the sample preparation procedure is usually complicated and destructive. Furthermore, TEM only gives two-dimensional images.

The new method shines a powerful X-ray source onto a nanoparticle and collects the X-rays scattered from the sample. Then computers construct a three-dimensional image from that data. The microscope can resolve details down to 17 nanometers, or a few atoms across.

Quantum dotUsing the new microscope, Risbud and colleagues were able to take detailed three-dimensional pictures of a “quantum dot” of gallium nitride, and also to study the structure inside it at a nanometer scale. Quantum dots are tiny particles that change their optical and electronic properties, depending on the particle size. Gallium nitride quantum dots could be used in blue-green lasers or flat-panel displays.

“The present work hence opens the door for comprehensive, nondestructive and quantitative 3D imaging of a wide range of samples including porous materials, semiconductors, quantum dots and wires, inorganic nanostructures, granular materials, biomaterials, and cellular structure,” they wrote.

Source: University of California - Davis

Explore further: Engineers discover new method to determine surface properties at the nanoscale

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New 2-D quantum materials for nanoelectronics

Nov 21, 2014

Researchers at MIT say they have carried out a theoretical analysis showing that a family of two-dimensional materials exhibits exotic quantum properties that may enable a new type of nanoscale electronics.

Thin film produces new chemistry in 'nanoreactor'

Nov 19, 2014

Physicists of the University of Groningen and the FOM Foundation, led by professor Beatriz Noheda, have discovered a new manganese compound that is produced by tension in the crystal structure of terbium manganese oxide. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.