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Atom build is expected to achieve a custom crystal crystal materials for different purposes

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Science and Technology Daily News (reporter Chen Dan) British researchers for the first time to watch the whole process by atomic crystal a "build" and the ability to control the microstructure of nano it gives them incredible. The new technology, called Nanocrystallometry, promises to be used to customize crystals with different uses, such as water purifiers or invisibility cloaks.

"This is the first time that we can really photograph the motion of a single atom and observe that atoms assemble into crystals one by one." Nicholas Barry of the University of Warwick said.

In the world of nanometer scale, even rod, ball and point made of the same material also have different chemical and physical properties. But so far, scientists have limited ability to control such structures, because they grow so fast that even the best electron microscopes can't catch them.

Barry and his colleagues conducted a new experiment using a thin film of metal osmium, carbon and other elements. According to the "New Scientist" magazine website on May 28th (Beijing time) reported that they fired a beam of electron beam molecular film, so that the majority of molecules and release a single osmium atom, the rest are fused into one that can support these free graphene lattice atoms. The key point is that the graphene lattice containing impurities.

Barry explained, "it's doped with boron atoms and sulfur atoms, which slows down the movement of a single metal atom on the graphene surface." These slow atoms and electron microscopes capture the same speed of images, so the research team can see the process of crystal growth.

The researchers also used a variety of metal atoms to produce osmium ruthenium alloys for the first time, which showed that this method can convincingly create other interesting new materials. With this technology, scientists will be able to see how different chemicals grow into crystals, and try to tailor crystals that can be used in different fields. In addition, they also demand a design flaw crystal.

Thomas Chamberlain, of University of Nottingham, said: "this ability to watch a single atom combine to form nanoparticles is a significant contribution to understanding how materials are formed at the atomic level."."

But he also pointed out that the crystal reaction will be an obstacle. If the surface of the particle does not have a stable covering layer, the crystal material will be adsorbed together with other particles it encounters, and the longer the activity will be, the lower the activity will be. "The useful properties of these crystals will change rapidly with time, and then disappear."

Nevertheless, Barry believes that the highly reactive amorphous islands on the graphene lattice can also play a role. For example, it can detect gas at the atomic scale or drug.

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