In-situ liquid cell TEM demonstrates controlled etching of nano-crystalline surface

Wet chemical etching is used in controlling the surface of the nanostructures. The technique is routinely used in synthesizing various MEMS structures, hollow nanoparticles, and high-index crystal facets. Recently, researchers from Peking University, University of Science and Technology Beijing, and Zhengzhou University have used Hummingbird liquid cell TEM holder and demonstrated that the smooth surface of the nanostructures can be systematically etched to form series of hillock-like crystal facets.  Interestingly, the researchers were able to observe that with the nano-surface pre-treated with oxygen-rich plasma, the facet orientation appeared to be different from what is conventionally seen in the oxygen-terminated surface.  In this case, the {01-1-3} crystal facets are observed from (000-1) oxygen-rich surface of ZnO nano/micro belts after wet chemical etching instead of generally known {01-1-1} crystal facet. The detailed results are published in the prestigious journal, Small.

In-situ liquid cell TEM images during etching of a ZnO nano/micro belts under electron beam irradiation. The hillocks shaped crystal facets are formed upon etching. Copyright © 2020 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

Reference: Mei Sun, Bocheng Yu, Mengyu Hong, Zhiwei Li, Fengjiao Lyu, Xing Li, Zhihong Li, Xianlong Wei, Zheng Zhang, Yue Zhang, and Qing Chen. Controlling the Facet of ZnO during Wet Chemical Etching Its (000 -1 ) O‐Terminated Surface. Small (2020).  Full paper

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