A new device enables high-resolution monitoring of dynamic processes of the liquid phase at the nanoscale

CityU researchers have invented a new device that enables high-resolution monitoring of dynamic processes of the liquid phase at a nanoscale.

Schematic illustration of the electrochemical liquid cell. Credit score: Yang, R et al. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41596-022-00762-y

In situ monitoring and recording of essential liquid-phase electrochemical reactions in power units is important to the development of power science.

A analysis staff led by a scientist from the Metropolis College of Hong Kong (CityU) has just lately developed a brand new small machine to include liquid samples for Transmission electron microscope (TEM), which opens the door to visualizing and recording complicated electrochemical reactions on the nanoscale in actual time and at excessive decision.

The analysis staff believes that this modern technique will make clear methods for fabricating a robust analysis device for unraveling mysteries of electrochemical processes sooner or later.

The usage of typical TEM is restricted to skinny, steady, and strong samples as a result of vacuum atmosphere (vacuum atmosphere prevents absorption or deflection of electrons alongside their paths and affecting commentary) within the chamber to carry the samples. Liquid samples aren’t appropriate with vacuum, in order that they can’t be examined straight in typical TEM.

Course of of producing a liquid electrochemical cell. credit score: Nature Protocols (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41596-022-00762-y

Luckily, with the appearance of the extra superior “liquid cell TEM” on web site, research has change into attainable liquid section In situ dynamic processes, akin to observing crystal nucleation and development in resolution, electrochemical reactions in energy units, and life actions of residing cells.

The “liquid cell” is a vital part of TEM for pattern retention electron beam move via, thus enabling on-site monitoring. However it’s troublesome to fabricate a high-quality liquid cell for TEM as a result of it entails incorporating electrodes, encapsulating the electrolytes in a small “sealed” liquid cell to stop leakage, and connecting it to an exterior energy supply on the identical time.

A analysis staff led by Dr. Zeng Quan, Assistant Professor within the Division of Supplies Science and Engineering at CityU, and Professor Li Guo of the Massachusetts Institute of Expertise (MIT) has succeeded in creating an environment friendly and novel technique for fabricating “closed” electrochemical liquid cells, which may considerably enhance the accuracy of TEM. with liquid samples.

“The newly developed closed liquid cell performs two foremost capabilities: (1) enclosing liquid samples in a closed container, thus separating them from the vacuum atmosphere of the microscope; and (2) confining liquid samples in a sufficiently skinny liquid layer utilizing two-electron-transparent silicon nitride (SiN).x), in order that electrons can journey via the liquid layer and visualize the interactions.”

In-situ TEM commentary of electrochemical processes and post-situ properties. credit score: Nature Protocols (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41596-022-00762-y

To manufacture the high-performance “sealed” electrochemical liquid cells on this protocol, the analysis staff used superior nanofabrication methods, together with photolithography, to manufacture in situ the core element of liquid TEM – the liquid cell. Photolithography is a course of used UV gentle To switch an engineered design from an optical masks to a photosensitive (photoresist) chemical coated on a substrate.

The staff fabricated the underside and high bracket individually, then pieced them collectively. Gold or titanium electrodes had been deposited on the underside slide in the course of the steel deposition course of. The electrolyte was then loaded and sealed contained in the liquid cell.

Utilizing this modern liquid cell with transmission electron microscopy, the dynamic electrochemical reactions of the liquid pattern on the electrode floor could be recorded in actual time with excessive decision via the built-in TEM working system with a excessive spatio-temporal decision digital camera.

“The electrochemical liquid cell designed with our customized nanofabrication technique has thinner SiNx “Imaging home windows (35 nm) in comparison with business home windows (50 nm),” defined Dr. Zeng. It additionally has a thinner liquid movie (150 nm) than business ones (1000 nm). SiN thinnerx Imaging home windows and a skinny liquid movie make sure that our fabricated liquid cell can seize electrochemical reactions with TEM spatial decision higher than business ones.”

The staff believes that many alternatives and purposes for in situ TEM monitoring of electrochemical reactions will emerge quickly after the event of the liquid electrochemical cell with the selection of patterned steel electrodes and liquid electrolytes encapsulated within the liquid cell.

The newly proposed fabrication protocol will also be utilized in different in situ methods past TEM. For instance, an acceptable modification of this protocol could be appropriate for the fabrication of electrochemical liquid cells for in situ X-ray characterizations of electrochemical reactions (X-ray absorption spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and so forth.).

The outcomes are revealed in Nature Protocols.

extra data:
Ruijie Yang et al, Fabrication of the liquid cell for in situ transmission electron microscopy of electrochemical processes, Nature Protocols (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41596-022-00762-y

the quote: New Machine Allows Excessive-Decision Monitoring of Dynamic Liquid Section Processes on the Nanoscale (2023, January 31) Retrieved January 31, 2023 from https://phys.org/information/2023-01-device-enaining-high-resolution-liquid -phase. html

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