Title

New approach to electron microscopy imaging of gel nanocomposites in situ

Publication Date

2-20-2019

Department

Ames Laboratory; Chemical and Biological Engineering; Materials Science and Engineering; Neuroscience

Campus Units

Ames Laboratory, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Neuroscience

OSTI ID+

1498682

Report Number

IS-J 9892

DOI

10.1016/j.micron.2019.02.010

Journal Title

Micron

Volume Number

120

First Page

104

Last Page

112

Abstract

Characterization of Au-nanocomposites is routinely done with scattering techniques where the structure and ordering of nanoparticles can be analyzed. Imaging of Poloxamer gel-based Au-nanocomposites is usually limited to cryo-TEM imaging of cryo-microtomed thin sections of the specimen. While this approach is applicable for imaging of the individual nanoparticles and gauging their size distribution, it requires altering the state of the specimen and is prone to artifacts associated with preparation protocols. Use of Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (S/TEM) with fluid cell in situ provides an opportunity to analysis of these complex materials in their hydrated state with nanometer resolution, yet dispensing dense gel-based samples onto electron-transparent substrates remains challenging. We show that Poloxamer gel-based Au nanocomposites exhibiting thermoreversible behavior can be imaged in a fully hydrated state using a commercially available fluid cell holder, and we describe a specimen preparation method for depositing femtoliter amounts of gel-based nanocomposites directly onto the 50 nm-thick SiN window membranes. Ultimately, fluid cell S/TEM in situ imaging approach offers a pathway to visualization of individual nanoparticles within a thick gel media while maintaining the hydrated state of the carrier polymeric matrix.

DOE Contract Number(s)

AC02-07CH11358

Language

en

Department of Energy Subject Categories

36 MATERIALS SCIENCE

Publisher

Iowa State University Digital Repository, Ames IA (United States)

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