In situ wet-cell TEM observation of gold nanoparticle motion in an aqueous solution
1 Key Laboratory for Ultrafine Materials of Ministry of Education, School of Materials Science and Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, 200237, People's Republic of China
2 Shanghai Key Laboratory of Advanced Polymeric Materials, School of Materials Science and Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, 200237, People's Republic of China
3 Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, 61801, USA
4 Electron Microscopy Center and Materials Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL, 60439, USA
Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:598 doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-598Published: 29 October 2012
In situ wet-cell transmission electron microscopy (TEM) technology enables direct observation of nanomaterials in a fully hydrated environment with high spatial and temporal resolution, which can be used to address a wide range of scientific problems. In this paper, the motions of approximately 5-nm sized gold nanoparticles in an aqueous solution are studied using the wet-cell TEM technology. It is observed that gold nanoparticles can be either in a single particle or cluster forms, and dynamic displacement and rotation motions are observed for both forms in the solution. Under electron beam irradiation, nanoparticles in some clusters gradually fused together; sometimes they also showed dramatic growth behavior. Mechanisms for the motion and growth of the particles/clusters are discussed.