Real-time etching of silica in liquid cell

Using Hummingbird Scientific’s liquid cell TEM holder, researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands have investigated the complex etching mechanism of rod-shaped silica colloids. The study involved systematically controlling the flow rate of the etchant solution and optimizing electron irradiation during imaging. The researchers observed realistic etching of rod-shaped silica particles with a negligible beam effect in real-time. They observed a three-step etching mechanism which transformed the rod-shaped silica particles into cone-shaped silica particles (See Figure below). The work published in the open-access nano select demonstrates that liquid cell TEM can be instrumental in observing intermediate chemical processes in real-time.

Real-time observation of silica particles undergoing a three-step etching mechanism from rod-shaped to cone shaped in NaOH solution. Copyright © 1999-2020 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.Reference: Sina Sadighikia,  Albert Grau‐Carbonell, Tom A.J. Welling, Ramakrishna Kotni, Fabian Hagemans,  Arnout Imhof, Marijn A. van Huis, and  Alfons van Blaaderen. Low‐dose liquid cell electron microscopy investigation of the complex etching mechanism of rod‐shaped silica colloids. nano select (2020).  Full paper

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