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Development of electron tomography on liquid suspensions using environmental scanning electron microscopy

Abstract : ESEM (Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy) allows the observation of liquids under specific conditions of pressure and temperature. When working in the transmission mode, i.e. in STEM (Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy), nano-objects can even be analyzed inside the liquid (“wet-STEM” mode). Moreover, in situ evaporation of water can be performed to study the materials evolution from the wet to the dry state. This work aims at developing electron tomography on liquid suspensions using STEM-in-ESEM, to obtain the 3D structure of nano-objects dispersed in a liquid. In a first part, Monte Carlo simulations and 2D wet-STEM experimental images are combined to study the contrast. Two kinds of liquid nano-materials are chosen as the sample: spherical gold particles (diameter around 40 nm) in suspension in water; latex SBA-PMMA suspension, a copolymer derived from styrene and metacrylic acid esters in aqueous solution, 3% PMMA shell included as steric surfactant. The comparison between simulated and experimental results helps to determine how water can affect the contrast of hydrated nano-materials. Tomography experiments are then performed on dry PU-carbon nanotubes nanocomposites using a previously developed home-made tomography device, and the volume is well reconstructed. When performing tomography on latex suspension, limitations are found on the temperature control of samples. We propose an optimization of the device with new observations conditions to better control water evaporation and condensation of liquid samples. Afterwards, a full 3D analysis on SBA-PMMA latex from dilute suspension to very concentrated one is performed, and a further study is presented in presence of a surfactant. The encouraging reconstruction results are used to model the particles arrangement. This shows the potentialities of wet-STEM tomography for the characterization of both solid and liquid nano-materials.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - 3:28:07 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-01974046, version 1

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Juan Xiao. Development of electron tomography on liquid suspensions using environmental scanning electron microscopy. Materials. Université de Lyon, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017LYSEI050⟩. ⟨tel-01974046⟩

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