University of Cambridge, captured the movement of the atoms at speeds that are eight orders of magnitude too fast for conventional microscopes.
– Used a technique similar to MRI to follow the movement of individual atoms in real time as they cluster together to form two-dimensional materials, which are a single atomic layer thick. ( They Used a test sample of oxygen atoms moving on the surface of ruthenium metal, the researchers recorded the spontaneous breaking and formation of oxygen clusters, just a few atoms in size, and the atoms that quickly diffuse between the clusters.)
– This results could be used to design new types of materials and quantum technology devices.
– 2D materials, like graphene, have the potential to improve the performance of existing and new devices, due to their unique properties, such as outstanding conductivity and strength. 2D materials have a wide range of potential applications, from bio-sensing and drug delivery to quantum information and quantum computing. However, in order for 2D materials to reach their full potential, their properties need to be fine-tuned through a controlled growth process.
– University of Cambridge have followed the entire process in real time, at comparable temperatures to those used in industry.
This technique known as ‘helium spin-echo’, which has been developed in Cambridge over the last 15 years.
( In normal condition, materials form as atoms ‘jump’ onto a supporting substrate until they attach to a growing cluster. Being able to monitor this process gives scientists much greater control over the finished materials. However, for most materials, this process happens so quickly and at such high temperatures that it can only be followed using snapshots of a frozen surface, capturing a single moment rather than the whole process.)
I am excited, as the future step beyond could be more atomic scale phenomena study or electron-based probes. Besides its usefulness in the design and manufacture of future materials and devices, it’s to future now, what else we’ll be able to see.!!!
Link to Research : https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.126.155901