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Direct observation of the molten state of nanometer-sized particles with an atomic force microscope: A feasibility study

Publiceringsår: 2002
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 351-356
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Journal of Nanoparticle Research
Volym: 4
Nummer: 4
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Springer


An atomic force microscope (AFM) was used to directly examine the physical state of nanometer-sized particles. The critical diameter of indium particles, where evidence of melting at room temperature was observed, was 7.8 +/- 1.2 nm. This conclusion is based on a method relying on the manipulation of particles in ambient air and at constant temperature. This method involves a simple set-up that permits a combination of both manipulation and imaging of individual particles. To determine whether a particle is molten, three criteria are used: the merging of particles to form bigger spherical particles, a tip-induced shape change, and the formation of nanofibers. All three criteria have been checked using other particle materials. An attempt at 56degreesC revealed oxidation of the indium particles as the major problem for melting investigation. Manipulations under high-purity nitrogen atmosphere support the validity of the findings. The use of the AFM to determine whether a nanoparticle is molten is, however, complicated by the oxidation issue.


  • Nano Technology
  • atomic force microscope
  • melting point
  • nanoparticles


  • ISSN: 1572-896X

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