Graphene scientists from the University of Manchester have created a new ‘Petri nanodish’ using two-dimensional (2D) materials to create a new way of observing how atoms move in a liquid.
Publishing in the magazine temper natureIn this study, the team led by researchers from the National Graphene Institute (NGI) used stacks of two-dimensional materials such as graphene to trap liquid in order to understand how the presence of liquid alters the behavior of a solid.
For the first time, the team was able to capture images of single atoms “swimming” in a liquid. The findings could have a wide-ranging impact on the future development of green technologies such as hydrogen production.
When hard surface In contact with a liquid, both substances change their composition in response to the proximity of the other. Atomic-scale interactions at solid-liquid interfaces control the behavior of batteries and fuel cells to generate clean electricity, as well as determine the efficiency of clean water generation and support many biological processes.
One of the lead researchers, Professor Sarah Hay, commented: “Given the widespread industrial and scientific importance of such behavior, it is truly surprising how much we still have to learn about the basics of the behavior of atoms on surfaces in contact with liquids. One of the reasons for information loss is the lack of capable technologies to achieve experimental data for solid and liquid interfaces.
Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is one of the few technologies that allow this single atoms to be seen and analyzed. However, the TEM instrument requires a high vacuum environment, and the material structure changes in a vacuum. First author Dr. Nick Clark explained, “In our work we show that disinformation is provided if atomic behavior is studied in a vacuum rather than using liquid cells.”
Professor Roman Gorbachev was a pioneer in stacking 2D materials for electronics but here his group used the same techniques to develop a “liquid double graphene cell”. two-dimensional layer of molybdenum disulfide Completely suspended in liquid and coated with graphene windows. This new design allowed them to provide precisely controlled layers of liquid, enabling unprecedented video capture showing single atoms “swimming” around, surrounded by liquid.
By analyzing how the atoms move in the videos and comparing them with theoretical insights provided by colleagues at the University of Cambridge, the researchers were able to understand the effect of the fluid on atomic behavior. The liquid was found to accelerate the movement of atoms as well as change their preferred resting positions with respect to the basic solid.
The team studied a promising material for green hydrogen production But the experimental technology they developed could be used in many different applications.
Dr Nick Clark said: “This is an outstanding achievement and is only the beginning – we are already looking to use this technology to support the development of materials for sustainable chemical processing, needed to achieve the world’s net-zero ambitions.”
Nick Clark et al, Tracing single adatoms in liquid in a transmission electron microscope, temper nature (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-022-05130-0
University of Manchester
the quote: Graphene Scientists Take First Pictures of Atoms “Swimming” in Liquid (2022, July 27) Retrieved July 28, 2022 from
This document is subject to copyright. Notwithstanding any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.
#Graphene #scientists #pictures #atoms #swimming #liquid #Physorg