This presentation will follow two themes. The first considers recent contributions of electron tomography in materials chemistry, with particular focus on rationally designed multi-scale and multi-component systems. Second, developments and future prospects in electron tomographic methodology will be discussed.
Summarised in Figures 1 and 2, for example, is a recent study of Au nanorpisms decorated with Pt nanoparticles of size relevant for catalysis . The tomographic analyses disclosed otherwise ambiguous details of the multi-component architecture, revealing that both pseudospherical protrusions and dendritic Pt nanoparticles grow on all faces of the nanoprisms, the faceted or occasionally twisted morphologies of which were also revealed, and shedding light on alignment of the Pt nanoparticles. Complementary electron energy-loss spectrum imaging showed that the Au nanoprisms support multiple localized surface plasmon resonances despite the presence of pendant Pt nanoparticles. These insights suggest potential applications in plasmon-enhanced catalysis and in situ monitoring of chemical processes via surface-enhanced spectroscopy, and pave the way toward comprehensive engineering of such multi-functional nanostructures.
With the widespread adoption of scanning transmission electron microscopy and high-angle annular-dark field imaging, structural electron tomographic studies have reached a consistently high standard. The fidelity of such studies has also been raised significantly by the development of advanced reconstruction algorithms, such as those based on compressed sensing . These are undergoing continual evolution to address the range of contexts and challenges faced in contemporary nanoscale investigations, including quantitative, low-dose and analytical electron tomography.
Significant advances in hardware, such as fast and efficient X-ray and electron energy-loss spectrometers, and new camera technologies, have opened the flood gates to analytical electron tomography . New ‘big data’ challenges are faced in the processing and analysis of multi-dimensional tomography data sets. In this regard, post facto ‘computational microscopy’ is becoming increasingly important; and versatile computational approaches can yield rich rewards. Indeed, computational analysis combined with advanced reconstruction can enable capture of the salient information content in a powerful and efficient manner. Computational modelling also offers the opportunity to utilise signals that have traditionally been thought unsuitable for tomography. Combined, hardware and computational advances are enabling a new era of analytical electron tomography, providing sophisticated 3D mapping at the nanoscale, spanning composition, crystallography, chemical, optical and electronic properties.
 R.K. Leary et al. J. Phys. Chem. C DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.6b02103
 R.K. Leary et al. Ultramicroscopy 131 (2013) 70-91
 R.K. Leary & P.A. Midgley MRS Bulletin (in press)
I am grateful for a Junior Research Fellowship at Clare College, and for financial support from Emilie Ringe and Paul Midgley.
To cite this abstract:Rowan Leary; Electron Tomography at the Frontiers of Materials Chemistry. The 16th European Microscopy Congress, Lyon, France. https://emc-proceedings.com/abstract/electron-tomography-at-the-frontiers-of-materials-chemistry/. Accessed: October 21, 2021
EMC Abstracts - https://emc-proceedings.com/abstract/electron-tomography-at-the-frontiers-of-materials-chemistry/