First-ever images of atoms 'swimming' in liquid have been captured

For the first time, single atoms have been imaged moving in liquid using graphene, MoS2, and transmission electron microscopy.

Published Aug 2, 2022 5:34 AM CDT   |   Updated Wed, Aug 24 2022 5:33 AM CDT
1 minute & 8 seconds read time

A study on the atoms titled "Tracking single adatoms in liquid in a Transmission Electron Microscope" has been published in the journal Nature.

First-ever images of atoms 'swimming' in liquid have been captured 01

Researchers from the University of Manchester have stacked two-dimensional materials to create a novel "nano-petri dish," allowing them to observe individual atoms as they move in liquid. The "double graphene liquid cell" contains a 2D layer of molybdenum disulfide (MoS) with liquid flowing through it while sandwiched between two layers of graphene. Using transmission electron microscopy (TEM), the researchers could observe lone atoms moving throughout the MoS layer.

The new footage from the experiment shows platinum atoms swimming in the liquid surrounding the (MoS). Bright spots appear and disappear, showing the platinum atoms as they adsorb, or bind, to the surface of (MoS) structure before desorbing back into the liquid. Analyzing this footage will allow researchers to compare how atoms move in real life with theoretical predictions and determine how liquid affects atomic behavior.

You can read more from the study here.

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