Bright-field electron tomography of individual inorganic fullerene-like structures

Maya Bar Sadan, Sharon G. Wolf, Lothar Houben

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Nanotubes and fullerene-like nanoparticles of various inorganic layered compounds have been studied extensively in recent years. Their characterisation on the atomic scale has proven essential for progress in synthesis as well as for the theoretical modelling of their physical properties. We show that with electron tomography it is possible to achieve a reliable reconstruction of the 3D structure of nested WS2 or MoS2 fullerene-like and nanotube structures with sub-nanometre resolution using electron microscopes that are not aberration-corrected. Model-based simulations were used to identify imaging parameters, under which structural features such as the shell structure can be retained in the tomogram reconstructed from bright-field micrographs. The isolation of a particle out of an agglomerate for the analysis of a single structure and its interconnection with other particles is facilitated through the tomograms. The internal structure of the layers within the particle alongside the shape and content of its internal void are reconstructed. The tomographic reconstruction yields insights regarding the growth process as well as structural defects, such as non-continuous layers, which relate to the lubrication properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-428
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - 19 Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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