Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Next-generation chemical mapping on the nanoscale

Date:
March 29, 2011
Source:
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Summary:
Scientists have pioneered a new chemical mapping method that provides unprecedented insight into materials at the nanoscale. These new maps will guide researchers in deciphering molecular chemistry and interactions that are critical for artificial photosynthesis, biofuels production and light-harvesting applications such as solar cells.

Schematic of coaxial probe for imaging a carbon nanotube (left) and chemical map of carbon nanotube with chemical and (right) topographical information at each pixel.
Credit: Image from Weber, et. al

A pixel is worth a thousand words? Not exactly how the saying goes, but in this case, it holds true: scientists at Berkeley Lab's Molecular Foundry have pioneered a new chemical mapping method that provides unprecedented insight into materials at the nanoscale. Moving beyond traditional static imaging techniques, which provide a snapshot in time, these new maps will guide researchers in deciphering molecular chemistry and interactions at the nanoscale -- critical for artificial photosynthesis, biofuels production and light-harvesting applications such as solar cells.

"This new technique allows us to capture very high-resolution images of nanomaterials with a huge amount of physical and chemical information at each pixel," says Alexander Weber-Bargioni, a postdoctoral scholar in the Imaging and Manipulation of Nanostructures Facility at the Foundry. "Usually when you take an image, you just get a picture of what this material looks like, but nothing more. With our method, we can now gain information about the functionality of a nanostructure with rich detail."

The Molecular Foundry is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science nanoscience center and national user facility. With the Foundry's state-of-the-art focused ion beam tool at their disposal, Weber-Bargioni and his team designed and fabricated a coaxial antenna capable of focusing light at the nanoscale, -- a harnessing of light akin to wielding a sharp knife in a thunderstorm, Weber-Bargioni says.

Consisting of gold wrapped around a silicon nitride atomic force microscope tip, this coaxial antenna serves as an optical probe for structures with nanometer resolution for several hours at a time. What's more, unlike other scanning probe tips, it provides enough enhancement, or light intensity, to report the chemical fingerprint at each pixel while collecting an image (typically 256 x 256 pixels). This data is then used to generate multiple composition-related "maps," each with a wealth of chemical information at every pixel, at a resolution of just twenty nanometers. The maps provide information that is critical for examining nanomaterials, in which local surface chemistry and interfaces dominate behavior.

"Fabricating reproducible near-field optical microscopy probes has always been a challenge," says Frank Ogletree, acting Facility Director of the Imaging and Manipulation of Nanostructures Facility at the Foundry. "We now have a high-yield method to make engineered plasmonic probes for spectroscopy on a variety of surfaces."

To test out the capability of their new probe, the team examined carbon nanotubes, sheets of carbon atoms rolled tightly into tubes just a few nanometers in diameter. Carbon nanotubes are ideal for this type of interactive investigation as their unmatched electronic and structural properties are sensitive to localized chemical changes.

Users coming to the Molecular Foundry to seek information about light-harvesting materials or any dynamic system should benefit from this imaging system, Weber-Bargioni says.

Adds Jim Schuck, staff scientist in the Imaging and Manipulation of Nanostructures Facility at the Foundry, "We're very excited -- this new nano-optics capability enables us to explore previously inaccessible properties within nanosystems. The work reflects a major strength of the Molecular Foundry, where collaboration between scientists with complementary expertise leads to real nanoscience breakthroughs."

This work at the Molecular Foundry was supported by DOE's Office of Science.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alexander Weber-Bargioni, Adam Schwartzberg, Matteo Cornaglia, Ariel Ismach, Jeffrey J. Urban, YuanJie Pang, Reuven Gordon, Jeffrey Bokor, Miquel B. Salmeron, D. Frank Ogletree, Paul Ashby, Stefano Cabrini, P. James Schuck. Hyperspectral Nanoscale Imaging on Dielectric Substrates with Coaxial Optical Antenna Scan Probes.. Nano Letters, 2011; 11 (3): 1201 DOI: 10.1021/nl104163m

Cite This Page:

DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "Next-generation chemical mapping on the nanoscale." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110329095739.htm>.
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. (2011, March 29). Next-generation chemical mapping on the nanoscale. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110329095739.htm
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "Next-generation chemical mapping on the nanoscale." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110329095739.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

What This MIT Sensor Could Mean For The Future Of Robotics

What This MIT Sensor Could Mean For The Future Of Robotics

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) MIT researchers developed a light-based sensor that gives robots 100 times the sensitivity of a human finger, allowing for "unprecedented dexterity." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The MIT BioSuit could be an alternative to big, bulky traditional spacesuits, but the concept needs some work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Several companies unveiled virtual reality headsets at the Tokyo Game Show, Asia's largest digital entertainment exhibition. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins