The atomic resolution view of the nano-world
"The research I have done at UIC is using the Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope (STEM) to characterize the nano materials, such as the Mn promoted Co-based Fischer-Tropsch (FT) nano-catalyst on Ti support. The STEM makes it possible to observe the nano materials at atomic resolution, with the image contrast correlates with the material atomic number. The electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) combined with STEM could provide us the chemical information by mapping the elemental distribution of the nano-catalyst. All the information obtained by STEM is important for understanding the function of the Co-based FT catalyst, which could be a solution to the potential energy crisis. As can be seen in the image, a particle of 10 nm in diameter sits on a chunk of support. The later chemical analysis by EELS shows that it is a Co particle covered with a Mn shell sitting on the Ti support. One facet of the particle is hexagonal. The bright spots on the hexagonal facet are the atomic columns. The clear observation of the atomic columns demonstrates the powerful magnification function of the STEM. By using the STEM, the landscape of the nano-world is always amazing."