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Nanomaterials in depth


Engineering of dimensions, structures, shapes and surfaces on the nanoscale

In order to achieve the desired application properties, nanoscientists strive to control and tailor the dimensions, shapes, structures, surface and interface properties of nanomaterials, resulting in more engineered and functionalized nanoobjects and nanofilms.

Often it is desirable to achieve a fine dispersion of nanoobjects in a matrix material, a challenging task given that due to the large surface energy there is always a tendency to form aggregates or agglomerates.

X-ray nanometrology - solutions for all types of nanomaterials

Nanometrology tools are essential to reveal, verify and control the dimensions and structures in nanomaterials. X-ray analytical techniques are ideally suited for this purpose, making use of radiation with a short wavelength (typically around a tenth of a nanometer) and due to the high penetration depth of X-rays in many kinds of materials.

PANalytical offers a wide variety of nanometrology solutions for the characterization of all types of nanomaterials. These are based on X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) techniques and are used to determine ensemble-averaged nanoparticle dimensions, nanostructures, as well as the elemental and crystalline compositions. These parameters are often related to the chemical and physical properties of the material, as well as to its application properties. Samples are measured non-destructively, with only minimal sample preparation required.

Some typical nanomaterials that can be investigated with PANalytical products include:
• nanopowders (nano-TiO2, SiO2, ZnO, CeO2, etc.)
• nanocrystals (e.g. quantum dots)
• colloidal dispersions, nanosuspensions (gold, silver, silica, etc.)
• polymers (e.g. semi-crystalline polymers, block copolymers)
• polymer nanocomposites (e.g. polymer/clay, polymer/silica)
• porous materials (SBA-15, MCM-41, random porous materials)
• liquid crystalline phases (e.g. surfactants, lipids)
• thin films and coatings (inorganic and organic; single and multi-layers)
• thin foils and sheets (polymers)

These types of nanomaterials can be characterized with respect to:
crystallite size and microstrain
crystalline phases
• behavior under non-ambient conditions
atomic pair distribution function
nanoparticle size distribution
particle shape
specific surface area
nanoparticle aggregation behavior
core-shell structures
pore size distribution in mesoporous materials
nanofilm thickness, density, structure and roughness
in-plane structure in ultrathin films
quality of epitaxial films
elemental composition, purity and dopant levels - down to ppm concentrations.

PANalytical's XRD and XRF instruments for nanomaterial characterization

PANalytical helps the nanoscientist in developing new, engineered nanomaterials with tailored structures and properties. The instruments are also used as quality control tools for industrial manufacturing.

High-end multipurpose XRD platform for all types of nanomaterial characterization. Offers maximum performance and maximum flexibility. Can be configured with ScatterX78 for high-performance SAXS/WAXS measurements.

X'Pert³ Powder:
Basic XRD platform for powder X-ray diffraction. Thanks to its modular design, specific nanometrology options can be added.

X'Pert³ MRD (XL):
XRD platform for all types of thin film characterizations, including epitaxial structures.

High-performance wavelength and energy dispersive XRF spectrometer for the determination of elemental composition, purity and dopant levels - down to ppm concentrations.

Epsilon 4 spectrometers:
Desktop energy dispersive XRF spectrometer for the determination of elemental composition, purity and dopant levels - down to ppm concentrations.

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