… to in-situ Electron Microscopy @ The Ohio State University
Ongoing research focus on more efficient energy use and conversion, on more efficient transportation, and on environmental protecting technologies relies heavily on the advancement of (new) functional nanomaterials and nanosystems. At any stage in research and development, studies of these nanomaterials’ structure, properties, and function are critical, including detailed atomic-scale insights.
The materials paradigm represented in the form of a tetrahedron [see Wikipedia].
Atomic scale electron microscopy (EM), markedly advanced by utilizing recent hard- and software improvements, has become a powerful and indispensable tool for characterizing those nanostructures. Ongoing activities concentrate on methodological aspects of state-of-the-art EM and thereby open routes towards atom sensitive imaging of nanostructures that play a crucial role in numerous applications.
However, the actual state and function of nanomaterials ‘in operation’ cannot always be inferred from examination under standard EM high vacuum and room temperature conditions or from postmortem EM studies. In-situ and operando techniques have become a powerful tools enabling characterization of nanostructures under (near) operational or environmental conditions, thereby providing new insights in important materials science questions, including basic phenomena associated with materials’ dynamic behavior, growth, phase transformations, activity, selectivity, stability, and more.
Applying atomic-scale EM techniques in in situ studies is, however, still extremely demanding. A key challenge is to establish in situ conditions in the close vicinity of the specimen while maintaining the microscope’s overall performance and stability. Ongoing activities also concentrate on methodological aspects of atom sensitive imaging while controlling electron beam / structure interactions.