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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In chickens, the sensory organs for taste are the taste buds in the oral cavity, of which there are ~240-360 in total number as estimated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). There is not an easy way to visualize all taste buds in chickens. Here, we report a highly efficient method for labeling chicken taste buds in oral epithelial sheets using the molecular markers Vimentin and α-Gustducin. Immediate tissue fixation following incubation with sub-epithelially injected proteases enabled us to peel off whole epithelial sheets, leaving the shape and integrity of the tissue intact. In the peeled epithelial sheets, taste buds labeled with antibodies against Vimentin and α-Gustducin were easily identified and counted under a light microscope and many more taste buds, patterned in rosette-like clusters, were found than previously reported with SEM. Broiler-type, female-line males have more taste buds than other groups and continue to increase the number of taste buds over stages after hatch. In addition to ovoid-shaped taste buds, big tube-shaped taste buds were observed in the chicken using 2-photon microscopy. Our protocol for labeling taste buds with molecular markers will factilitate future mechanistic studies on the development of chicken taste buds in association with their feeding behaviors.
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.
We report an approach - named chemTEM - to follow chemical transformations at the single-molecule level with the electron beam of a transmission electron microscope (TEM) applied as both a tuneable source of energy and a sub-Angstrom imaging probe. Deposited on graphene, disk-shaped perchlorocoronene molecules are precluded from intermolecular interactions. This allows monomolecular transformations to be studied at the single-molecule level in real time and reveals chlorine elimination and reactive aryne formation as a key initial stage of multi-step reactions initiated by the 80 keV e-beam. Under the same conditions, perchlorocoronene confined within a nanotube cavity, where the molecules are situated in very close proximity to each other, enables imaging of intermolecular reactions, starting with the Diels Alder cycloaddition of a generated aryne, followed by rearrangement of the angular adduct to a planar polyaromatic structure and the formation of a perchlorinated zigzag nanoribbon of graphene as the final product. ChemTEM enables the entire process of polycondensation, including the formation of metastable intermediates, to be captured in a one-shot ‘movie’. A molecule with a similar size and shape but with a different chemical composition, octathiocirculene, under the same conditions undergoes another type of polycondensation via thiyl biradical generation and subsequent reaction leading to polythiophene nanoribbons with irregular edges incorporating bridging sulphur atoms. Graphene or carbon nanotubes supporting the individual molecules during chemTEM studies ensure that the elastic interactions of the molecules with the e-beam are the dominant forces that initiate and drive the reactions we image. Our ab initio DFT calculations explicitly incorporating the e-beam in the theoretical model correlate with the chemTEM observations and give a mechanism for direct control not only of the type of the reaction but also of the reaction rate. Selection of the appropriate e-beam energy and control of the dose rate in chemTEM enabled imaging of reactions on a timeframe commensurate with TEM image capture rates, revealing atomistic mechanisms of previously unknown processes.
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.
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.