Researchers watch nanoparticles self-assemble for the very first time
Each of the particles seen in the video above measures a scant 12 nanometers across. To put that in perspective, you’d have to divide the thin side of a dime by a thousand, and then take one of those slivers and divide it by a thousand again. That’s roughly one nanometer.
That’s mighty, mighty tiny — so tiny in fact that the researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory had to use a transmission electron microscope located at the Center for Nanoscale Materials to capture the quick movement of the nanoparticles.
To get the tiny bits to re-assemble, the researchers put the gold nanoparticles into a small liquid pouch and covered it with a positively charged coating. When it was exposed to an intense beam of electrons, an effect was created where “hydrated” electrons attracted the positively charged nanoparticles — but it was an effect that was gradually reduced over time. Once freed from these forces, the nanoparticles were able to jump around and stick together in long chains.
Read the full article at: io9.com