ACS Colloid & Surface Science 2014 - In Situ electron microscopy of colloid aggregation and liquid-vapor interfacial phenomena
Nicholas M. Schneider*, Wonsuk Lee*, Joseph M. Grogan*, Frances M. Ross^, and Haim H. Bau*
* - Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
^ - IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY.
Using a custom made liquid cell, dubbed the nanoaquarium, we study the interactions among colloidal particles tens of nanometers in size and between particles and moving liquid-vapor interfaces with the nanoscale resolution of the electron microscope. The nanoaquarium consists of a thin liquid layer laden with nanoparticles and sandwiched between two thin silicon nitride membranes. The liquid is sealed from the vacuum environment of the electron microscope and is sufficiently thin to allow electrons to pass through without excessive scattering. We examined particle- particle interactions, self-assembly dynamics, beam interactions with the irradiated medium and its effect on particle aggregation, and the interactions between a moving liquid-vapor interface and particles in the precursor film. We discuss the potential and challenges for in-situ electron microscopy of colloidal systems.