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Electron Tomography:
Seeing Nanoparticles in Three Dimensions

Nanosized particles of silicon embedded in silicon oxide have interesting and technologically important optical properties that depend on the average size and shape of the particles. To study the three-dimensional structure of these particles, CNS researchers have developed an electron microscope capable of taking a series of images at different angles and then reconstructing a full 3-dimensional image. This approach is similar to that used in medical CAT scans, but we are able to view features ten-million times smaller. These new three-dimensional images show that the nanoparticles have very complicated shapes (such as the “horseshoe” nanoparticle shown in the inset) and are not the simple spheres assumed previously from conventional two-dimensional electron-microscope images. This ability to now see nanoparticles in 3-D should open the way to much better control of their optical properties .

[CNS Investigator:D. Muller]

"Three-dimensional imaging of nonspherical silicon nanoparticles embedded in silicon oxide by plasmon tomography", Aycan Yurtsever, Matthew Weyland, and David A. Muller, Appl. Phys. Lett. 89, 151920 (2006).

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