"Weighing" atoms with electrons

11. October 2016

The chemical properties of atoms depend on the number of protons in their nuclei, placing them into the periodic table. However, even chemically identical atoms can have different masses – these variants are called isotopes. Although techniques to measure such mass differences exist, these have either not revealed where they are in a sample, or have required dedicated instrumentation and laborious sample preparation.

In our recent work, published in Nature Communications, we report a new way for "weighing” atoms by atomic-resolution imaging of graphene, the one-atom-thick sheet of carbon.

University press release: Weighing atoms with electrons

Publication: Isotope analysis in the transmission electron microscope: Toma Susi, Christoph Hofer, Giacomo Argentero, Gregor T. Leuthner, Timothy J. Pennycook, Clemens Mangler, Jannik C. Meyer & Jani Kotakoski. Nature Communications | 7:13040 | DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13040.

Open data: Atomic resolution electron irradiation time series of isotopically labeled monolayer graphene: Toma Susi, Christoph Hofer, Giacomo Argentero, Gregor T. Leuthner, Timothy J. Pennycook, Clemens Mangler, Jannik C. Meyer & Jani Kotakoski. figshare (2016). DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3311946.v1.

Infographic (CC BY): PDF (English, German) .

infographic