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Education and Outreach Programs

Naperville Central High School ESRP 2020

Using Synchrotron X-Ray Scanning Tunneling Microscopy to Analyze the Elemental Composition of a Sample at the Nanoscale: A Nanoscale Approach to a Common Practice


  • Students:
    • Kevin Chen
    • Hannah Fewkes
    • Sarah Hadjarab
    • Ziyin Wang
    • Colin Yao
    • Mitchell Zhen
    • Kathy Zheng
  • Teachers:
    • Katherine Seguino
  • Mentors:
    • Volker Rose (Argonne National Laboratory, Advanced Photon Source, Center for Nanoscale Materials)

Center for Nanoscale Materials

SX-STM (synchrotron x-ray scanning tunneling microscopy) combines high precision spatial imagery with the ability to gauge the magnetism and properties (elemental) of a particular sample. This experiment focuses on the x-ray side of the instrument, in which a sample of nickel and cobalt was elementally analyzed using the monochromatic x-rays of the beamline. By using x-rays with specific photon energies focused on a sample at the nanoscale, we could collect energy scans of the sample and compare it to energy scans of the elements of interest. Prior, calibration curves were created by analyzing iron and manganese using SX-STM. Based on this data, we could also determine the purity of the samples and analyze the fingerprint” of each particle.

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