Exploiting secondary electrons in transmission electron microscopy for 3D characterization of nanoparticle morphologies
Electron tomography (ET) is an indispensable tool for determining the three-dimensional (3D) structure of nanomaterials in (scanning) transmission electron microscopy ((S)TEM). ET enables 3D characterization of a variety of nanomaterials across different fields, including life sciences, chemistry, solid-state physics, and materials science down to atomic resolution. However, the acquisition of a conventional tilt series for ET is a time-consuming process and thus cannot capture fast transformations of materials in realistic conditions. Moreover, only a limited number of nanoparticles (NPs) can be investigated, hampering a general understanding of the average properties of the material. Therefore, alternative characterization techniques that allow for high-resolution characterization of the surface structure without the need to acquire a full tilt series in ET are required which would enable a more time-efficient investigation with better statistical value. In the first part of this work, an alternative technique for the characterization of the morphology of NPs to improve the throughput and temporal resolution of ET is presented. The proposed technique exploits surface-sensitive secondary electron (SE) imaging in STEM employed using a modification of electron beam-induced current (EBIC) setup. The time- and dose efficiency of SEEBIC are tested in comparison with ET and superior spatial resolution is shown compared to conventional scanning electron microscopy. Finally, contrast artefacts arising in SEEBIC images are described, and their origin is discussed. The second part of my thesis focuses on real applications of the proposed technique and introduces a high-throughput methodology that combines images acquired by SEEBIC with quantitative image analysis to retrieve information about the helicity of gold nanorods. It shows that SEEBIC imaging overcomes the limitation of ET providing a general understanding of the connection between structure and chiroptical properties.
Antwerpen : University of Antwerp, Faculty of Science , 2024
x, 118 p.
Supervisor: Bals, Sara [Supervisor]
Supervisor: Verbeeck, Johan [Supervisor]
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Creation 29.03.2024
Last edited 30.03.2024
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