[OC] “Popping” a large inorganic nanocrystal with nothing but a beam of electrons

[OC] “Popping” a big inorganic nanocrystal with absolutely nothing however a beam of electrons

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About the Author: livescience


  1. I wanted to relax after a bad day in the lab so I did this and filmed it.

    How I did it:

    Using a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM), a beam of electrons was focused onto a large nanocrystal. The electrons collected on the surface of the crystal, causing a whole bunch of different electromagnetic interactions, leading to the deformation and eventual “popping” of the crystal. This causes the contents of the crystal to leak out into the surrounding space.

    The scale bar (partially obscured) represents a distance of 100 nm, so the crystal itself has a “wingspan” of around 150 nm (that is, 0.000015 centimetres, or about 0.000006 inches).

    This footage is sped up to 300% of its true value simply because it looks better.

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