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Education and Outreach Programs

Tinley Park High School ESRP 2020

Imaging Magnetic Nanoclusters at the Atomic Scale Using Synchrotron X-ray Scanning Tunneling Microscopy


  • Students:
    • Nick Ballay
    • Todd Bajzek
    • Ellie Eisses
    • Hannah Hallman
    • Mitchell Hendricks
    • Ashley Kennedy
    • Sam Lezon
    • Bella Pequette
    • Vineet Pillai
    • Domonic Rana
    • Christian Sechel
    • Jenna Skanberg
    • Micah Stevenson
    • Jacob Werner-Bickel
  • Teachers:
    • James Birrell
  • Mentors:
    • Volker Rose (Argonne National Laboratory, Advanced Photon Source, Center for Nanoscale Materials)

Center for Nanoscale Materials

Synchrotron x-ray scanning tunneling microscopy (SX-STM) is a technique recently developed at Argonne National Laboratory that uses the chemical imaging capabilities of x-ray absorption spectroscopy with the spatial resolution of scanning tunneling microscopy to achieve atomic level spatial and chemical resolution images of a surface. This imaging technique is potentially very powerful because it allows researchers to simultaneously gain information regarding systems that would not otherwise be possible for instance, simultaneously probing the chemical and magnetic properties of nanoclusters deposited on a metallic substrate.

The goal of this experiment is to use synchrotron x-ray scanning tunneling microscopy to determine chemical information and magnetic information of Ni-Co nanoclusters. Using traditional x-ray absorption spectroscopy, only aggregate information averaged over multiple nanoclusters is possible, because the x-ray beam illuminates multiple particles. It is hoped that by using SX-STM, we can gain information regarding the chemical properties of individual nickel nanoclusters. Additionally, by using left and right circularly polarized x-rays, it is hoped that the magnetic properties of these nanoclusters can be probed to determine what effect the small length scale of these metallic nanoclusters has on the magnetic properties with the goal to design novel materials for future applications.

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