By Paul Podsiadlo and Elena Shevchenko, Argonne's Center for Nanoscale Materials
In order to invent new materials to use in better batteries, solar cells and other technological advances, scientists must delve deeply into the nanoscale—the nearly atomic scale where structures determine how materials react with each other. At the nanoscale, anything can happen; materials can change colors and form into astonishing structures. These are some of the results from studies at the nanoscale.
ABOVE: The pattern represents a film of 7.5-nanometer lead sulfide nanocrystals evaporated on the surface of a silicon wafer. The branch is formed by “supercrystals”: faceted 3-D assemblies of the same nanocrystals, crystallized in a mechanically induced scratch. The supercrystals have shown preferential nucleation in scratches. The picture is a true, unaltered image, obtained with an optical microscope in reflected light mode.
Photo courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory.