Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Electron microscope


Highly dispersive strontium carbonate (SrCO3) nanostructures with uniform dumbbell, ellipsoid, and rod-like morphologies were synthesized in methanol solution without any additives. These SrCO3 were characterized by X-ray diffraction, field emission scanning electron microscopy, and N2 adsorption-desorption. The results showed that the reaction temperature and the methanol/water ratio had important effects on the morphologies of SrCO3 particles. The dumbbell-like SrCO3 exhibited a Broader-Emmett-Teller surface area of 14.9 m2 g-1 and an average pore size of about 32 nm with narrow pore size distribution. The formation mechanism of the SrCO3 crystal was preliminary presented.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Strontium, X-ray, Chemical reaction, Calcium carbonate, Scanning electron microscope, Strontianite


We report the growth and characterization of ZnO/ZnTe core/shell nanowire arrays on indium tin oxide. Coating of the ZnTe layer on well-aligned vertical ZnO nanowires has been demonstrated by scanning electron microscope, tunneling electron microscope, X-ray diffraction pattern, photoluminescence, and transmission studies. The ZnO/ZnTe core/shell nanowire arrays were then used as the active layer and carrier transport medium to fabricate a photovoltaic device. The enhanced photocurrent and faster response observed in ZnO/ZnTe, together with the quenching of the UV emission in the PL spectra, indicate that carrier separation in this structure plays an important role in determining their optical response. The results also indicate that core/shell structures can be made into useful photovoltaic devices.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Diffraction, X-ray, Optics, Electromagnetic radiation, Solar cell, Zinc oxide


The insulator characteristic of hexagonal boron nitride limits its applications in microelectronics. In this paper, the fluorinated hexagonal boron nitride nanosheets were prepared by doping fluorine into the boron nitride nanosheets exfoliated from the bulk boron nitride in isopropanol via a facile chemical solution method with fluoboric acid; interestingly, these boron nitride nanosheets demonstrate a typical semiconductor characteristic which were studied on a new scanning tunneling microscope-transmission electron microscope holder. Since this property changes from an insulator to a semiconductor of the boron nitride, these nanosheets will be able to extend their applications in designing and fabricating electronic nanodevices.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Hydrogen, Chemistry, Semiconductor, Electrical conductivity, Boron, Boron nitride


Biological materials with hierarchically laminated structures usually exhibit a good synergy between strength and fracture toughness. Here, we show that a bio-inspired (polyelectrolyte (PE)/TiO2)4 nanolayered composite with a thickness ratio of TiO2 and amorphous PE layers of about 1.1 has been prepared successfully on Si substrates by layer-by-layer self-assembly and chemical bath deposition methods. Microstructures of the nanolayered composite were investigated by scanning electron microscopy, secondary ion mass spectroscopy, and high-resolution transmission microscopy. Mechanical performance of the composite was characterized by instrumented indentation. The composite consisting of 17.9-nm-thick nanocrystalline TiO2 and 16.4-nm-thick amorphous PE layers has a strength of about 245 MPa, which is close to that of shells, while the fracture toughness of the composite, KIC = 1.62 +/- 0.30 MPa . m1/2, is evidently higher than that of the bulk TiO2. A possible strategy to build the composite at nanoscale for high mechanical performance was addressed.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Fracture mechanics, Materials science, Transmission electron microscopy, Scanning electron microscope, Secondary ion mass spectrometry, Fracture toughness


Coordinatively unsaturated (CUS) iron sites are highly active in catalytic oxidation reactions; however, maintaining the CUS structure of iron during heterogeneous catalytic reactions is a great challenge. Here, we report a strategy to stabilize single-atom CUS iron sites by embedding highly dispersed FeN4 centers in the graphene matrix. The atomic structure of FeN4 centers in graphene was revealed for the first time by combining high-resolution transmission electron microscopy/high-angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy with low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy. These confined single-atom iron sites exhibit high performance in the direct catalytic oxidation of benzene to phenol at room temperature, with a conversion of 23.4% and a yield of 18.7%, and can even proceed efficiently at 0°C with a phenol yield of 8.3% after 24 hours. Both experimental measurements and density functional theory calculations indicate that the formation of the Fe═O intermediate structure is a key step to promoting the conversion of benzene to phenol. These findings could pave the way toward highly efficient nonprecious catalysts for low-temperature oxidation reactions in heterogeneous catalysis and electrocatalysis.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Chemical reaction, Hydrogen, Catalysis, Hydrogenation, Density functional theory, Scanning tunneling microscope


The development of methods for imaging large contiguous volumes with the electron microscope could allow the complete mapping of a whole mouse brain at the single-axon level. We developed a method based on prolonged immersion that enables staining and embedding of the entire mouse brain with uniform myelin staining and a moderate preservation of the tissue’s ultrastructure. We tested the ability to follow myelinated axons using serial block-face electron microscopy.

Concepts: Nervous system, Electron, Electron microscope, Neuron, Microscope, Axon, Myelin, Scanning tunneling microscope


Despite recent advances, the structures of many proteins cannot be determined by electron cryomicroscopy because the individual proteins move during irradiation. This blurs the images so that they cannot be aligned with each other to calculate a three-dimensional density. Much of this movement stems from instabilities in the carbon substrates used to support frozen samples in the microscope. Here we demonstrate a gold specimen support that nearly eliminates substrate motion during irradiation. This increases the subnanometer image contrast such that α helices of individual proteins are resolved. With this improvement, we determine the structure of apoferritin, a smooth octahedral shell of α-helical subunits that is particularly difficult to solve by electron microscopy. This advance in substrate design will enable the solution of currently intractable protein structures.

Concepts: Protein, Protein structure, Electron microscope, Enzyme, Protein structure prediction, Microscope, Microscopy, Musical form


Using Scanning Tunneling Microscopy, we demonstrate that the 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition between a terminal alkyne and an azide can be performed under solvent-free ultrahigh vacuum conditions with reactants adsorbed on a Cu(111) surface. X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy shows significant degradation of the azide upon adsorption, which is found to be the limiting factor for the reaction.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Light, Microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Azide alkyne Huisgen cycloaddition, Vacuum, Ultra high vacuum


This study documents the prevalence of cut mark characteristics in fresh and burned domestic pig ribs. Stab wounds from single edge serrated and smooth-edged knives were inflicted in the vertebral and sternal regions of each fresh rib. Each rack of ribs was then divided into vertebral and sternal units. Vertebral units were defleshed and their associated cut marks were examined using a stereomicroscope. Sternal units were burned in an outdoor fire pit and examined with the addition of a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Linear cuts, V-shaped cross-sections, mounding, hinge fractures, and wastage were all observed on burned ribs. There was an overall decrease in the prevalence of all features (up to a 40% decrease), regardless of knife type, in burned ribs. Striations within cut marks were not observed in either fresh or burned ribs. Oblique faulting and bone lifts could only be observed using the SEM. Mounding and wastage were obliterated during the burning process. Therefore, cut marks in burned bone should ideally be examined for their characteristics utilizing an SEM.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Bone, Sternum, Scanning electron microscope, Rib


A new approach has been initiated to improve the spatial lateral resolution of the X-ray microanalysis and the backscattered electrons modes in variable pressure or environmental scanning electron microscope (VP-ESEM). This approach is based on correlation between two concepts: the electron beam skirt radius in the gas (R(S)) and the generation volume radius (R(X)) of X-ray signals and the generation volume radius (R(BSE)) of backscattered electrons in the material. In order to follow the relationship between R(S), R(X) and R(BSE), PMMA polymer, silicon oxide and aluminium are used. The results of the simulation show the existence of the best lateral resolution conditions named R (P, E) depending on the pressure and the energy for each material. This approach will enable us to propose some optimal experimental conditions to characterize different materials.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Oxygen, Fundamental physics concepts, Thermodynamics, Scanning electron microscope, ESEM, Crookes tube