Looking deeper into nanomaterials: The new 3D imaging tool reaches a very high level
From designing new biomaterials to novel photonic devices, new materials built through a process called bottom-up nanofabrication or self-assembly pave the way for new technologies with nanoscale properties. However, to fully unleash the potential of these new materials, researchers need to “see” their small works so that they can control the design and fabrication to implement the desired properties of the material.
Researchers at the Brookhaven National Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Columbia University have, for the first time, photographed the interior of an innovative object self-assembled from nanoparticles with a resolution of seven nanometers, about 100 times the width of a human hair. In the new paper published on April 7, 2022 ScienceResearchers demonstrate the power of their new high-resolution X-ray imaging technique to reveal the internal structure of a nanomaterial.
The team designed the new nanomaterial using DNA as a programmable building material, enabling them to create innovative engraved materials for catalysis, optics and extreme environments. During the process of creating these materials, the various building blocks made up of DNA and nanoparticles move into their own space, essentially a defined “blueprint” —the so-called template — designed by researchers. However, to capture and use these small structures with X-rays, they had to be converted into X-ray-bearing minerals while providing effective function. For the first time, researchers will be able to see the details, including the flaws in the newly organized nanomaterials.
“Our DNA-based assembly of nanomaterials gives us a great deal of control over how well we adjust the properties we want, but they do not create perfect structures that are fully compatible with the map. It is impossible to understand the extent to which an object’s performance is affected by dos and don’ts, “said Oleg Kang, a scientist at the Brookhaven Center for Functional Nanoparticles (CFN). And Professor of Chemical Engineering and Applied Physics and Materials Science at Columbia Engineering.
Convenient for a DOE Office of Science user, CFN provides a wide range of tools for creating and analyzing novel nanomaterials. It was at the CFN and Columbia Engineering Laboratories, where Kang and his team first developed and studied new nanostructures. Using DNA-based assembly as a nanoscale new fabrication tool and precision templateing tool with DNA and nanoparticle coating materials, researchers were able to demonstrate a new type of complex 3D architecture.
“When I joined the research team five years ago, we studied the surface of our assemblies very well, but the surface skin is only deep. If you can not go further, you will never see the presence of blood system or bones. We want to go deeper and find out what works, “said Aaron Noam Michelson, PhD’s first author of the study. Student with the gang and now a postdock on CFN.
The team went deeper with researchers at the Hard X-ray Nanoprobe (HXN) Beamline at National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), another DOE Office of Science user facility located in the Brookhaven Laboratory. NSLS-II enables the detection of nanoscale objects with nanoscale resolution and fine sensitivity by providing ultraviolet light ranging from infrared to hard X-rays.
“At NSLS-II, we have a number of tools that can be used to learn more about an object, depending on what you are interested in. When we first talked about research, ‘seeing’ these small structures was already in the range of what the Beamline could do, “said Hanfi Yan, the study’s corresponding author. Beamline scientist at HXN.
To overcome this challenge, the researchers discussed various obstacles they had to overcome. At CFN and Colombia, the team had to figure out how to build structures with the structure they wanted and convert them into a mineral copy that could withstand powerful X-ray beams, while researchers had to tune in to NSLS-II. Beamline by improving clarity, data acquisition and many more technical details.
“I think it’s the best way to describe our progress in terms of performance. When we first tried to take data on HXN, it took us three days, we got part of a database. The second time we did this, it took us two days, we We got the whole database, but in the process our sample was erased. The third time it took a little over 24 hours, and we got the whole database. Each of these steps is about six months. Except, “Michelson said.
Yan added: “Now we can finish it in one day. The technology is mature enough that we offer it to other users who want to explore their model using our beamline. Interested in fields such as looking at models of this size. As micro electronics and battery research.”
The team used the capabilities of the Beamline in two ways. They not only measured the phase variation of the X-rays passing through the samples, but also collected X-ray fluorescence-emitted light from the sample. By measuring the phase variation, researchers can better distinguish the foreground from the background of their model.
“Measuring data was only half the battle; now we need to translate data into meaningful information about the order and defect of organized systems. We want to understand what kind of defects can occur in these systems and what their origin is. At this point, this information is only available through computation. Now we can test this. As you can see, this is exciting and will open the eyes to the future development of intricately designed nanomaterials. ”
Together, the researchers developed new software tools that enable large-scale data processing and conversion into understandable particles. A big challenge was being able to verify the resolution they reached. Both standard analysis and machine learning approaches led to a new resolution several months before the panel was able to verify the resolution.
“It took me my whole PhD to get here, but I’m personally very happy to be a part of this collaboration. I was able to engage in every step from model making to directing the beamline. I learned all the new skills on this trip and will be useful for all to come.” Said.
Although the team has reached this amazing milestone, they are still a long way off. They have already set their sights on the next steps to push the boundaries further.
“Now that we’ve passed the data analysis process, we plan to make this section easier and faster for future projects, especially when further beamline enhancements help to collect data even faster. Analytics is currently hampered when doing high – definition tomography. I work at HXN,” said Yan.
Kang added, “In addition to continuing to push the performance of the Beamline, we also plan to use this new technology to delve deeper into the relationships between defects and the properties of our products. We plan to design more complex nanomaterials using DNA self-assembly. We can see how well it is built and integrate it with the assembly process.
By understanding this relationship between the properties of the material and the assembly process, the researchers hope to open the way for nanomaterials designed for batteries and catalysis to optimize these materials for future applications for light handling and desired mechanical responses.
<div class="article-main__explore my-4 d-print-none"> Creating hard 3D nanomaterials with DNA </div> <hr class="mb-4"/> <div class="article-main__more p-4"> <strong>More info:</strong> Aaron Michelson et al., Three-dimensional visualization of nanoparticles lattes and multimeter structures, <i>Science</i> (2022) <a data-doi="1" href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.abk0463" target="_blank" rel="noopener">DOI: 10.1126 / science.abk0463</a> </div> <div class="d-inline-block text-medium my-4"> Provided by Brookhaven National Laboratory <a class="icon_open" href="http://www.bnl.gov" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener"> <svg> <use href="https://phys.b-cdn.net/tmpl/v6/img/svg/sprite.svg#icon_open" x="0" y="0"/> </svg> </a> </div> <!-- print only --> <div class="d-none d-print-block"> <p> <strong>Quote</strong>: In-depth look at nanomaterials: The new 3D imaging tool has become much clearer (2022, April 13) https://phys.org/news/2022-04-deeply-nanomaterials-3d-imaging-tool on April 13, 2022 Received. html This document is subject to copyright. No part may be reproduced without written permission, except for any reasonable manipulation for the purpose of personal study or research. Content is provided for informational purposes only. </div> </div>https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js</p>