Enabling Photoemission Electron Microscopy in Liquids via Graphene-Capped Microchannel Arrays.
ABSTRACT: Photoelectron emission microscopy (PEEM) is a powerful tool to spectroscopically image dynamic surface processes at the nanoscale, but it is traditionally limited to ultrahigh or moderate vacuum conditions. Here, we develop a novel graphene-capped multichannel array sample platform that extends the capabilities of photoelectron spectromicroscopy to routine liquid and atmospheric pressure studies with standard PEEM setups. Using this platform, we show that graphene has only a minor influence on the electronic structure of water in the first few layers and thus will allow for the examination of minimally perturbed aqueous-phase interfacial dynamics. Analogous to microarray screening technology in biomedical research, our platform is highly suitable for applications in tandem with large-scale data mining, pattern recognition, and combinatorial methods for spectro-temporal and spatiotemporal analyses at solid-liquid interfaces. Applying Bayesian linear unmixing algorithm to X-ray induced water radiolysis process, we were able to discriminate between different radiolysis scenarios and observe a metastable "wetting" intermediate water layer during the late stages of bubble formation.
Project description:Studies of the electrified solid-liquid interfaces are crucial for understanding biological and electrochemical systems. Until recently, use of photoemission electron microscopy (PEEM) for such purposes has been hampered by incompatibility of the liquid samples with ultrahigh vacuum environment of the electron optics and detector. Here we demonstrate that the use of ultrathin electron transparent graphene membranes, which can sustain large pressure differentials and act as a working electrode, makes it possible to probe electrochemical reactions in operando in liquid environments with PEEM.
Project description:Collagen type I fibrils are the major building blocks of connective tissues. Collagen fibrils are anisotropic supramolecular structures, and their orientation can be revealed by polarized light microscopy and vibrational microspectroscopy. We hypothesized that the anisotropy of chemical bonds in the collagen molecules, and hence their orientation, might also be detected by X-ray photoemission electron spectromicroscopy (X-PEEM) and X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy, which use linearly polarized synchrotron light. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed sections of rat-tail tendon, composed of parallel arrays of collagen fibrils. The results clearly indicate that XANES-PEEM is sensitive to collagen fibril orientation and, more specifically, to the orientations of carbonyl and amide bonds in collagen molecules. These data suggest that XANES-PEEM is a promising technique for characterizing the chemical composition and structural organization at the nanoscale of collagen-based connective tissues, including tendons, cartilage, and bone.
Project description:The sea urchin tooth is a remarkable grinding tool. Even though the tooth is composed almost entirely of calcite, it is used to grind holes into a rocky substrate itself often composed of calcite. Here, we use 3 complementary high-resolution tools to probe aspects of the structure of the grinding tip: X-ray photoelectron emission spectromicroscopy (X-PEEM), X-ray microdiffraction, and NanoSIMS. We confirm that the needles and plates are aligned and show here that even the high Mg polycrystalline matrix constituents are aligned with the other 2 structural elements when imaged at 20-nm resolution. Furthermore, we show that the entire tooth is composed of 2 cooriented polycrystalline blocks that differ in their orientations by only a few degrees. A unique feature of the grinding tip is that the structural elements from each coaligned block interdigitate. This interdigitation may influence the fracture process by creating a corrugated grinding surface. We also show that the overall Mg content of the tooth structural elements increases toward the grinding tip. This probably contributes to the increasing hardness of the tooth from the periphery to the tip. Clearly the formation of the tooth, and the tooth tip in particular, is amazingly well controlled. The improved understanding of these structural features could lead to the design of better mechanical grinding and cutting tools.
Project description:Graphene, a layer of carbon atoms in a honeycomb lattice, captures enormous interest as probably the most promising component of future electronics thanks to its mechanical robustness, flexibility, and unique charge carrier quasiparticles propagating like massless high energy Dirac fermions. If several graphene layers form a stack, the interaction between them is, on the one hand, weak, allowing realization of various registries between the layers and, on the other hand, strong enough for a wide range tuning of the electronic properties. Here we grow few layer graphene with various number of layers and twist configurations and address the electronic properties of individual atomic layers in single microscopic domains using angle-resolved photoelectron spectromicroscopy. The dependence of the interlayer coupling on the twist angle is analyzed and, in the domains with tri-layers and more, if different rotations are present, the electrons in weaker coupled adjacent layers are shown to have different properties manifested by coexisting van Hove singularities, moiré superlattices with corresponding superlattice Dirac points, and charge carrier group velocity renormalizations. Moreover, pronounced anisotropy in the charge carrier motion, opening a possibility to transform strongly coupled graphene bilayers into quasi one-dimensional conductors, is observed.
Project description:The ability to produce large, continuous and defect free films of graphene is presently a major challenge for multiple applications. Even though the scalability of graphene films is closely associated to a manifest polycrystalline character, only a few numbers of experiments have explored so far the electronic structure down to single graphene grains. Here we report a high resolution angle and lateral resolved photoelectron spectroscopy (nano-ARPES) study of one-atom thick graphene films on thin copper foils synthesized by chemical vapor deposition. Our results show the robustness of the Dirac relativistic-like electronic spectrum as a function of the size, shape and orientation of the single-crystal pristine grains in the graphene films investigated. Moreover, by mapping grain by grain the electronic dynamics of this unique Dirac system, we show that the single-grain gap-size is 80% smaller than the multi-grain gap recently reported by classical ARPES.
Project description:We demonstrate that the ability to manipulate the polarization of synchrotron radiation can be exploited to enhance the capabilities of X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy, to include linear dichroism effects. By acquiring spectra at the same photon energies but different polarizations, and using a photoelectron emission spectromicroscope (PEEM), one can quantitatively determine the angular orientation of micro- and nanocrystals with a spatial resolution down to 10 nm. XANES-PEEM instruments are already present at most synchrotrons, hence these methods are readily available. The methods are demonstrated here on geologic calcite (CaCO(3)) and used to investigate the prismatic layer of a mollusk shell, Pinctada fucata. These XANES-PEEM data reveal multiply oriented nanocrystals within calcite prisms, previously thought to be monocrystalline. The subdivision into multiply oriented nanocrystals, spread by more than 50°, may explain the excellent mechanical properties of the prismatic layer, known for decades but never explained.
Project description:Photoelectron emission microscopy (PEEM) and differential (optical) reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) have proven independently to be versatile analytical tools for monitoring the evolution of organic thin films during growth. In this paper, we present the first experiment in which both techniques have been applied simultaneously and synchronously. We illustrate how the combined PEEM and DRS results can be correlated to obtain an extended perspective on the electronic and optical properties of a molecular film dependent on the film thickness and morphology. As an example, we studied the deposition of the organic molecule ?-sexithiophene on Ag(111) in the thickness range from submonolayers up to several monolayers.
Project description:Crystalline biominerals do not resemble faceted crystals. Current explanations for this property involve formation via amorphous phases. Using X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy and photoelectron emission microscopy (PEEM), here we examine forming spicules in embryos of Strongylocentrotus purpuratus sea urchins, and observe a sequence of three mineral phases: hydrated amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC · H(2)O) ? dehydrated amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC) ? calcite. Unexpectedly, we find ACC · H(2)O-rich nanoparticles that persist after the surrounding mineral has dehydrated and crystallized. Protein matrix components occluded within the mineral must inhibit ACC · H(2)O dehydration. We devised an in vitro, also using XANES-PEEM, assay to identify spicule proteins that may play a role in stabilizing various mineral phases, and found that the most abundant occluded matrix protein in the sea urchin spicules, SM50, stabilizes ACC · H(2)O in vitro.
Project description:The dominant pathway of radiation damage begins with the ionization of water. Thus far, however, the underlying primary processes could not be conclusively elucidated. Here, we directly study the earliest steps of extreme ultraviolet (XUV)–induced water radiolysis through one-photon excitation of large water clusters using time-resolved photoelectron imaging. Results are presented for H2O and D2O clusters using femtosecond pump pulses centered at 133 or 80 nm. In both excitation schemes, hydrogen or proton transfer is observed to yield a prehydrated electron within 30 to 60 fs, followed by its solvation in 0.3 to 1.0 ps and its decay through geminate recombination on a ?10-ps time scale. These results are interpreted by comparison with detailed multiconfigurational non-adiabatic ab-initio molecular dynamics calculations. Our results provide the first comprehensive picture of the primary steps of radiation chemistry and radiation damage and demonstrate new approaches for their study with unprecedented time resolution.
Project description:Aerosols can act as cloud condensation nuclei and/or ice-nucleating particles (INPs), influencing cloud properties. In particular, INPs show a variety of different and complex mechanisms when interacting with water during the freezing process. To gain a fundamental understanding of the heterogeneous freezing mechanisms, studies with proxies for atmospheric INPs must be performed. Graphene and its derivatives offer suitable model systems for soot particles, which are ubiquitous aerosols in the atmosphere. In this work, we present an investigation of the ice nucleation activity (INA) of different types of graphene and graphene oxides. Immersion droplet freezing experiments as well as additional analytical analyses, such as X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and transmission electron microscopy, were performed. We show within a group of samples that a highly ordered graphene lattice (Raman G band intensity >50%) can support ice nucleation more effectively than a lowly ordered graphene lattice (Raman G band intensity <20%). Ammonia-functionalized graphene revealed the highest INA of all samples. Atmospheric ammonia is known to play a primary role in the formation of secondary particulate matter, forming ammonium-containing aerosols. The influence of functionalization on interactions between the particle interface and water molecules, as well as on hydrophobicity and agglomeration processes, is discussed.