Analysis of nanostructured materials frequently employs Transmission Electron Microscopy, where specimens are routinely prepared by placing a drop of nanoparticles suspension on a suitable electron microscopy (EM) grid. Solvent-induced interactions, often inducing aggregation of the suspended nanoparticles, can be misleading in terms of both the observedinteractions between the individual nanoparticles, and resulting geometries.
Moreover, solvent evaporation can induce unwanted aggregation of suspended nanoparticles, and comprehensive analysis of such a system becomes even more challenging due to the presence of a large number of randomly oriented, overlapping features of interest. The issue can be further exacerbated whenworking with magnetic nanoparticles. Using various biomolecular templating agents, we will optimize the previously developed on-the-substrate synthesis of magnetic iron oxides as a tool for direct evaluation of the individual templated nanocrystal formation and growth, free of artifacts associated with the conventional sample preparation and characterization.
Such anapproach reduces the overall number of the nanoparticles subject to analysis and minimizes their overlapping, thus permitting high-resolution imaging. We will explore chemical functionalization of a surface of silicon nitride window to allow for the immobilization of the templating agent.
Program mentor: Tanya Prozorov, Emergent Atomic and Magnetic Structures, Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering