Science & Technology

Real-time tracking of atoms can lead to new types of materials and quantum technology devices

Researchers used a technique similar to MRI to track the movement of individual atoms in real time as they gathered together to form a two-dimensional material that is the thickness of a single atomic layer. ..

Results reported to the journal Physical Review Letter, Can be used in the design of new types of materials and quantum technology devices. Researchers at the University of Cambridge captured the movement of atoms at an eight-digit speed, which is too fast for a conventional microscope.

Two-dimensional material like GrapheneMay improve the performance of existing and new devices due to its unique properties such as excellent conductivity and strength.Two-dimensional materials include quantum information from biosensing and drug delivery. 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.

“This method is not new, but it has never been used this way to measure the growth of 2D materials.” — Nadav Avidor

These materials are usually formed as atomic “jumps” on the support substrate until they attach to the growing clusters. Being able to monitor this process gives scientists more control over the finished material. However, for most materials, this process is so rapid and hot that you can capture one moment rather than the entire process and track it only using a snapshot of the frozen surface.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge are now tracking the entire process in real time, at temperatures comparable to those used in the industry.

Researchers have used a technique known as the “helium spin echo” developed in Cambridge over the last 15 years. This technique is similar to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), but uses a beam of helium atoms to “illuminate” the target surface, similar to the light source of everyday microscopes.

“This technique allows us to perform MRI-like experiments on the fly when atoms scatter,” said Dr. Nadav Avidor of the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, the lead author of the paper. .. “If you think about the light sources that illuminate the photons on the sample, you can see what’s happening in the sample when those photons come back into your eyes.”

However, Avidor and his colleagues use helium atoms instead of photons to observe what is happening on the surface of the sample. The interaction of helium with surface atoms allows us to infer the movement of surface species.

Researchers used test samples of oxygen atoms moving on the surface of ruthenium metals to record the spontaneous destruction and formation of oxygen clusters the size of only a few atoms, and the atoms rapidly diffusing between the clusters. did.

“This technique isn’t new, but it has never been used this way to measure the growth of 2D materials,” says Avidor. “Looking back at the history of spectroscopy, light-based probes have revolutionized our view of the world. The next step, electron-based probes, allows us to see more. I did.

“We are now going beyond that and going one step further. atomBase probe. You can observe more atomic-scale phenomena. In addition to its usefulness in the design and manufacture of future materials and devices, we are excited to know what else we can see. “

Reference: “Ultrafast diffusion at the start of growth: O / Ru (0001)”, Jack Kelsall, Peter SM Townsend, John Ellis, Andrew P. Jardine, Nadav Avidor, April 12, 2021 Physical Review Letter..
DOI: 10.1103 / PhysRevLett.126.155901

The study was conducted at the Cambridge Atomic Scattering Center and was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).



Real-time tracking of atoms can lead to new types of materials and quantum technology devices

https://scitechdaily.com/following-atoms-in-real-time-could-lead-to-new-types-of-materials-and-quantum-technology-devices/ Real-time tracking of atoms can lead to new types of materials and quantum technology devices

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