Tracking the merry dance of nanoparticles

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Science  17 Jul 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6245, pp. 232-233
DOI: 10.1126/science.aac7627

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Nanoparticles containing a few tens or hundreds of atoms have applications in an ever-expanding range of areas, from electronics to catalysis and biological sensors. This versatility stems from the high sensitivity of nanoparticle properties to size, chemical composition, and shape, which are largely determined by the synthesis route by which they are produced. Nanoparticles grown in solution, termed “colloidal nanoparticles,” are of particular interest because they may be used in many applications, including as biosensors (1). On page 290 of this issue, Park et al. (2) report high-resolution structures of nanoparticles in solution deduced from electron microscopy. This spectacular result relies on the convergence of recently developed techniques from both the physical and life sciences and heralds a new era of high-resolution studies in solution.