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3D Structure of Inorganic Nanocrystals in Solution by Transmission Electron Microscopy


Scientific Achievement
Measured the locations of all of the atoms in colloidal nanocrystals for the first time, with resolution of 2.15 Å.

Significance and Impact
Nanocrystals are a fundamental building block of nanoscience, yet until now we have only known the average positions of atom within them. This will enable scientists to control nanocrystals which are used in solar cells, batteries, displays, catalysts, and more.

Research Details

  • A new method for obtaining nanocrystal structures was demonstrated.
  • Nanocrystals rotating in a graphene liquid cell were examined with the TEAM transmission electron microscope, and their electron diffraction patterns analyzed with a new algorithm.
  • Two Pt nanocrystals were studied.
  • Each nanocrystal exhibited a unique atomic arrangement, reflecting its own growth trajectory, but with some common features. Both exhibited complex grain boundaries.

Jungwon Park, Hans Elmlund, Peter Ercius, Jong Min Yuk, David T. Limmer, Qian Chen, Kwanpyo Kim, Sang Hoon Han, David A. Weitz, A. Zettl, A. Paul Alivisatos, Science 349 290 (2015