Nanosized iron clusters investigated with in situ transmission electron microscopy

Vystavel, T.; Palasantzas, G.; Koch, S. A.; De Hosson, J. Th. M.
January 2003
Applied Physics Letters;1/13/2003, Vol. 82 Issue 2, p197
Academic Journal
Transmission electron microscopy is employed for investigating the structural stability of nanosized iron clusters as deposited and after in situ annealing treatments under high vacuum conditions. The thin iron oxide shell that is formed around the iron clusters (upon air exposure) is of the order of 2 nm surrounding a 5 nm core of body-centered-cubic (bcc) iron. The oxide shell breaks down upon annealing at relatively low temperatures (∼500 °C) leading to pure iron particles having a bcc crystal structure. Annealing of clusters, which are in contact, leads to their fusion and formation of larger clusters preserving their crystallographic structure and being free of any oxide shell. On the other hand, isolated clusters appear rather immobile (upon annealing). The truncated rhombic dodecahedron was found as the most probable shape of the clusters which differs from former theoretical predictions based on calculations of stable structural forms.


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