3D structure of individual nonocrystals in solution by electron microscopy

Jungwon Park, Hans Olof Elmlund, Peter Ercius, Jong Min Yuk, David T Limmer, Qian Chen, Kwanpyo Kim, Sang Hoon Han, David A Weitz, Alex Zettl, A Paul Alivisatos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

156 Citations (Scopus)


Knowledge about the synthesis, growth mechanisms, and physical properties of colloidal nanoparticles has been limited by technical impediments. We introduce a method for determining three-dimensional (3D) structures of individual nanoparticles in solution. We combine a graphene liquid cell, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, a direct electron detector, and an algorithm for single-particle 3D reconstruction originally developed for analysis of biological molecules. This method yielded two 3D structures of individual platinum nanocrystals at near-atomic resolution. Because our method derives the 3D structure from images of individual nanoparticles rotating freely in solution, it enables the analysis of heterogeneous populations of potentially unordered nanoparticles that are synthesized in solution, thereby providing a means to understand the structure and stability of defects at the nanoscale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290 - 295
Number of pages6
Issue number6245
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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