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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Nucleation, growth, and superlattice formation of nanocrystals observed in liquid cell transmission electron microscopy

  • Author(s): Chen, Q
  • Yuk, JM
  • Hauwiller, MR
  • Park, J
  • Dae, KS
  • Kim, JS
  • Alivisatos, AP
  • et al.

This article reviews the advancements and prospects of liquid cell transmission electron microscopy (TEM) imaging and analysis methods in understanding the nucleation, growth, etching, and assembly dynamics of nanocrystals. The bonding of atoms into nanoscale crystallites produces materials with nonadditive properties unique to their size and geometry. The recent application of in situ liquid cell TEM to nanocrystal development has initiated a paradigm shift, (1) from trial-And-error synthesis to a mechanistic understanding of the synthetic reactions responsible for the emergence of crystallites from a disordered soup of reactive species (e.g., ions, atoms, molecules) and shape-defined growth or etching; and (2)A from post-processing characterization of the nanocrystals' superlattice assemblies to inA situ imaging and mapping of the fundamental interactions and energy landscape governing their collective phase behaviors. Imaging nanocrystal formation and assembly processes on the single-particle level in solution immediately impacts many existing fields, including materials science, nanochemistry, colloidal science, biology, environmental science, electrochemistry, mineralization, soft condensed-matter physics, and device fabrication.

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