How do the in situ stimuli provided by the DENSsolutions systems, like gas and heating, contribute to your research?
Recently I realized that all of the experiments we’ve done so far are done under the conventional conditions of an electron microscope meaning room temperature and ultra-high vacuum. And those conditions are no longer sufficient if you want to understand the behaviour of these nanoparticles and their applications. So that’s why we started thinking; can we visualize the three-dimensional changes that these nanomaterials undergo when they’re exposed to high temperatures or high pressures? So that is what our main goal is within my ERC consolidator grant REALNANO where we are trying to combine the principles of electron tomography with in situ electron microscopy.
So far we got some preliminary results using the Climate gas system, investigating platinum nanoparticles. These are of importance for catalytic applications. But we know that the surface structure might change in a gaseous environment. So this is what we wanted to investigate.
Again we want to perform these measurements in three dimensions and not just based on a two-dimensional projection of a three-dimensional object which can be very misleading. So by combining the expertise of several of the principal investigators here within the EMAT group and with the help of DENSsolutions, we were able to do some first experiments where we acquired high-resolution images of these platinum nanoparticles.
From these images, we’re going to quantify how many atoms we have in a given atomic column and these counting results serve as an input for molecular dynamic simulations that enable us to obtain a three-dimensional model.