A Nano View (R&D)
R&D – August 18, 2015
In nanotechnology the presence of defects is critical, more so than in the case of analogous bulk materials. Small defects in the crystal structure of a bulk metal alloy might have little impact on performance. However, the presence of defects, no matter how small, in nanoparticles of the same alloy may cause it to fail in its given application. Alteration of the elemental composition of an interface a few atomic layers thick, or missing dopant atoms in carbon nanotubes have the potential to completely alter the performance of the materials alone or when incorporated into nanocomposites.
To solve the issue of defects, analysis at the atomic level in transmission electron microscopes (TEM) aids in the identification of these defects. Once any defects are recognized, their impact on performance can be assessed, and improved synthesis methods that minimize defects can be developed.