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Electron tomography enables one to measure the morphology and composition of nanostructures in three dimensions (3D), even at atomic resolution. In order to preserve the carefully designed morphologies and functionalities, understanding the stability of nanomaterials during application is crucial. Most electron tomography investigations, however, have been performed at the conventional conditions of an electron microscope. An emerging challenge is to fully understand the connection between the 3D structure and properties under realistic conditions, including high temperatures as well as in the presence of liquids and gases. This is a key point of research at EMAT in the University of Antwerp, one of the leading electron microscopy centers in the world.
Using the DENSsolutions Climate system, Prof. Dr. Sara Bals, Professor at EMAT and expert in electron tomography, and her team were able to perform a dynamic characterization of shape changes of metal nanoparticles at high temperatures. During this Nanotalk, Prof. Dr. Bals presents some of her team's recent experiments, which demonstrate the progress that can be obtained by accelerating both the acquisition and reconstruction during electron tomography. Moreover, Prof. Dr. Bals demonstrates how you can measure the elemental diffusion dynamics of individual anisotropic bimetallic nanoparticles in 3D and determine the effect of parameters such as type of interfacial facets, aspect ratio, shape and presence of defects. Finally, by combining aberration corrected electron microscopy with a quantitative interpretation, Prof. Dr. Bals shows how you can provide quantitative measurements of the coordination numbers of the surface atoms of catalytic nanoparticles at high temperatures and in gaseous environments.
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