Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Dancing' silicon atoms discovered in graphene

Date:
April 3, 2013
Source:
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Summary:
Jumping silicon atoms are the stars of a newly discovered atomic scale ballet. The "dancing" movement of the silicon atoms was caused by the energy transferred to the material from the electron beam of the team's microscope.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers used electron microscopy to document the 'dancing' motions of silicon atoms, pictured in white, in a graphene sheet.
Credit: Image courtesy of DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Jumping silicon atoms are the stars of an atomic scale ballet featured in a new Nature Communications study from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The ORNL research team documented the atoms' unique behavior by first trapping groups of silicon atoms, known as clusters, in a single-atom-thick sheet of carbon called graphene. The silicon clusters, composed of six atoms, were pinned in place by pores in the graphene sheet, allowing the team to directly image the material with a scanning transmission electron microscope.

The "dancing" movement of the silicon atoms was caused by the energy transferred to the material from the electron beam of the team's microscope.

"It's not the first time people have seen clusters of silicon," said coauthor Juan Carlos Idrobo. "The problem is when you put an electron beam on them, you insert energy into the cluster and make the atoms move around. The difference with these results is that the change that we observed was reversible. We were able to see how the silicon cluster changes its structure back and forth by having one of its atoms 'dancing' between two different positions."

Other techniques to study clusters are indirect, says Jaekwang Lee, first author on the ORNL study. "With the conventional instrumentation used to study clusters, it is not yet possible to directly identify the three-dimensional atomic structure of the cluster," Lee said.

The ability to analyze the structure of small clusters is important for scientists because this insight can be used to precisely understand how different atomic configurations control a material's properties. Molecules could then be tailored for specific uses.

"Capturing atomic clusters inside patterned graphene nanopores could potentially lead to practical applications in areas such as electronic and optoelectronic devices, as well as catalysis," Lee said. "It would be a new approach to tuning electronic and optical properties in materials."

The ORNL team confirmed its experimental findings with theoretical calculations, which helped explain how much energy was required for the silicon atom to switch back and forth between different positions.

Video: http://www.ornl.gov/ornlhome/video/video_files/dancing-silicons-1.mov


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Jaekwang Lee, Wu Zhou, Stephen J. Pennycook, Juan-Carlos Idrobo, Sokrates T. Pantelides. Direct visualization of reversible dynamics in a Si6 cluster embedded in a graphene pore. Nature Communications, 2013; 4: 1650 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2671

Cite This Page:

DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "'Dancing' silicon atoms discovered in graphene." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130403141448.htm>.
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (2013, April 3). 'Dancing' silicon atoms discovered in graphene. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130403141448.htm
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "'Dancing' silicon atoms discovered in graphene." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130403141448.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) Police body cameras are gradually being rolled out across the US, with interest surging after the fatal police shooting in August of an unarmed black teenager. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) A ceremony marking 50 years since Japan launched its Shinkansen bullet train was held on Wednesday in Tokyo. The latest model can travel from Tokyo to Osaka, a distance of 319 miles, in two hours and 25 minutes. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina's Tax Evaders Detected, Hunted Down by Drones

Argentina's Tax Evaders Detected, Hunted Down by Drones

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) Argentina doesn't only have Lionel Messi the footballer, it has now also acquired "Mesi" the drone system which monitors undeclared mansions, swimming pools and soy fields to curb tax evasion in the country. Duration: 01:18 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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