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Imaging of Transient Structures Using Nanosecond in Situ TEM

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Science  12 Sep 2008:
Vol. 321, Issue 5895, pp. 1472-1475
DOI: 10.1126/science.1161517

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Abstract

The microstructure and properties of a material depend on dynamic processes such as defect motion, nucleation and growth, and phase transitions. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) can spatially resolve these nanoscale phenomena but lacks the time resolution for direct observation. We used a photoemitted electron pulse to probe dynamic events with “snapshot” diffraction and imaging at 15-nanosecond resolution inside of a dynamic TEM. With the use of this capability, the moving reaction front of reactive nanolaminates is observed in situ. Time-resolved images and diffraction show a transient cellular morphology in a dynamically mixing, self-propagating reaction front, revealing brief phase separation during cooling, and thus provide insights into the mechanisms driving the self-propagating high-temperature synthesis.

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