Exploring the nanoworld in 3D

Imagine a cube on which light is projected by a flashlight. The cube reflects light in a particular way, so simply spinning the cube or moving the flashlight makes it possible to examine each aspect and reduce information about its structure.

Now, imagine that this cube is only a few atoms high, that the light is only detectable in the infrared, and that the flashlight is a beam from the microscope. How to check each side of the cube?

This question has recently been posed by scientists at CNRS, l’Université Paris-Saclay, University of Graz and University of Graz University of Technology (Austria) by generating the first 3D image of the structure of infrared light near the nanube. Their results will be published in Science on 26 March 2021.

Electron microscopy uses an electron beam to illuminate a sample and create an enlarged image. It provides more complete measurements of physical properties, with unmatched spatial resolution that can even visualize individual atoms.

Chromatum, the Equitex Tempo team’s dedicated tool for spectroscopy, is one of these new-generation microscopes. It investigates the optical, mechanical, and magnetic properties of a material with very high resolution, one that is matched by only three other microscopes in the world.

Scientists from CNRS and l’Université Paris-Saclay are working at the Solid States Physics Laboratory (CNRS / Université Paris-Saclay), along with their partners at the University of Graz and Graz University of Technology (Austria), using Chromatem as a Magnesium oxide nanocaster used for the study.

The vibration of its atoms creates an electromagnetic field that can only be detected in the mid-infrared range. When electrons emitted by the microscope face this electromagnetic field indirectly, they lose energy. By measuring this energy loss, it becomes possible to reduce the outline of the electromagnetic field surrounding the crystal.

The problem is that this type of microscopy can only provide images in 2D, raising the question of how to view all corners, edges, and sides of a cube.

To do this, scientists developed image reconstruction techniques, which for the first time generated 3D images of the area around the crystal. This would eventually be able to target a specific point on the crystal, and for example, conducting local heat transfer.

Many other nano-objects absorb infrared light, such as during heat transfer, and it will now be possible to provide 3D images of these transfers. This is an opportunity for exploration for optimizing heat dissipation in small components used in nanoelectronics.

Imagine a cube on which light is projected by a flashlight. The cube reflects light in a particular way, so simply spinning the cube or moving the flashlight makes it possible to examine each aspect and reduce information about its structure. Now, imagine that this cube is only a few atoms high, that the light is only detectable in the infrared, and that the flashlight is a beam from the microscope.

How to check each side of the cube? This question has recently been posed by scientists at CNRS, l’Université Paris-Saclay, University of Graz and University of Graz University of Technology (Austria) by preparing the first 3D image of the structure of infrared light near nanocubes.

Electron microscopy uses an electron beam to illuminate a sample and create an enlarged image. It provides more complete measurements of physical properties, with unmatched spatial resolution that can even visualize individual atoms. Chromatome, an instrument dedicated to spectroscopy by the Equipex Tempo team [1], is one of these new generation microscopes. It investigates the optical, mechanical, and magnetic properties of a material with very high resolution, one that is matched by only three other microscopes in the world.

Scientists from CNRS and l’Université Paris-Saclay are working at the Solid States Physics Laboratory (CNRS / Université Paris-Saclay), along with their partners at the University of Graz and Graz University of Technology (Austria), using Chromatem as a Magnesium oxide nanocaster used for the study. The vibration of its atoms creates an electromagnetic field that can only be detected in the mid-infrared range [2].

When electrons emitted by the microscope face this electromagnetic field indirectly, they lose energy. By measuring this energy loss, it becomes possible to reduce the outline of the electromagnetic field surrounding the crystal.

The problem is that this type of microscopy can only provide images in 2D, leading to the question of how to visualize all corners, edges, and sides of the cube. To do this, scientists developed image reconstruction techniques, which for the first time generated 3D images of the area around the crystal.

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