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Visualization of Sub-atomic Movements in Nanostructures

Visualization of Sub-atomic Movements in Nanostructures
Visualization of Sub-atomic Movements in Nanostructures

Electron microscopy, scanning probe, and optical super-resolution imaging techniques with nanometric resolution are now routinely available but cannot capture the characteristically fast (MHz-GHz frequency) movements of micro-/nano-objects. Meanwhile, optical interferometric techniques can detect high-frequency picometric displacements but only with diffraction-limited lateral resolution. Here, we introduce a motion visualization technique, based on the spectrally resolved detection of secondary electron emission from moving objects, that combines picometric displacement sensitivity with the nanometric spatial (positional/imaging) resolution of electron microscopy. The sensitivity of the technique is quantitatively validated against the thermodynamically defined amplitude of a nanocantilever's Brownian motion. It is further demonstrated in visualizing externally driven modes of cantilever, nanomechanical photonic metamaterial, and MEMS device structures. With a noise floor reaching μ1 pm/Hz1/2, it can provide for the study of oscillatory movements with subatomic amplitudes, presenting new opportunities for the interrogation of motion in functional structures across the materials, bio- and nanosciences.

electron microscopy, metrology, nanomechanics, thermal motion
1530-6984
7746-7752
Liu, Tongjun
724ead78-26b2-44a0-a490-d5866f83bbeb
Ou, Jun-Yu
3fb703e3-b222-46d2-b4ee-75f296d9d64d
Plum, Eric
50761a26-2982-40df-9153-7aecc4226eb5
MacDonald, Kevin F.
76c84116-aad1-4973-b917-7ca63935dba5
Zheludev, Nikolai
32fb6af7-97e4-4d11-bca6-805745e40cc6
Liu, Tongjun
724ead78-26b2-44a0-a490-d5866f83bbeb
Ou, Jun-Yu
3fb703e3-b222-46d2-b4ee-75f296d9d64d
Plum, Eric
50761a26-2982-40df-9153-7aecc4226eb5
MacDonald, Kevin F.
76c84116-aad1-4973-b917-7ca63935dba5
Zheludev, Nikolai
32fb6af7-97e4-4d11-bca6-805745e40cc6

Liu, Tongjun, Ou, Jun-Yu, Plum, Eric, MacDonald, Kevin F. and Zheludev, Nikolai (2021) Visualization of Sub-atomic Movements in Nanostructures. Nano Letters, 21 (18), 7746-7752. (doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.1c02644).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Electron microscopy, scanning probe, and optical super-resolution imaging techniques with nanometric resolution are now routinely available but cannot capture the characteristically fast (MHz-GHz frequency) movements of micro-/nano-objects. Meanwhile, optical interferometric techniques can detect high-frequency picometric displacements but only with diffraction-limited lateral resolution. Here, we introduce a motion visualization technique, based on the spectrally resolved detection of secondary electron emission from moving objects, that combines picometric displacement sensitivity with the nanometric spatial (positional/imaging) resolution of electron microscopy. The sensitivity of the technique is quantitatively validated against the thermodynamically defined amplitude of a nanocantilever's Brownian motion. It is further demonstrated in visualizing externally driven modes of cantilever, nanomechanical photonic metamaterial, and MEMS device structures. With a noise floor reaching μ1 pm/Hz1/2, it can provide for the study of oscillatory movements with subatomic amplitudes, presenting new opportunities for the interrogation of motion in functional structures across the materials, bio- and nanosciences.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 23 August 2021
e-pub ahead of print date: 1 September 2021
Published date: 1 September 2021
Keywords: electron microscopy, metrology, nanomechanics, thermal motion

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 451236
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/451236
ISSN: 1530-6984
PURE UUID: 6f490c8a-0cac-4753-8f92-6b5bb10489ff
ORCID for Tongjun Liu: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4931-1734
ORCID for Jun-Yu Ou: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8028-6130
ORCID for Eric Plum: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1552-1840
ORCID for Kevin F. MacDonald: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3877-2976
ORCID for Nikolai Zheludev: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1013-6636

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 14 Sep 2021 20:58
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 03:17

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