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Nanoparticulate structures and nanoporous materials

Two examples of scale-bridging and complementary tomography techniques on nanoparticulate structures and nanoporous materials: (upper row) 360° electron tomography (ET) of micro-/macroporous MFI-type zeolite particles and (bottom row) X-ray nanotomography (Nano-CT) of magic colloidal clusters composed of >1000 polystyrene (PS) balls: (a, d) SEM overview images of several particles/clusters; (b, e) single particle/cluster on tomography tip plateaus; (c, f) Renderings of and further virtual cuts through 3D reconstructions.

Quantitative knowledge of the 3D structure of particles and particle aggregates down to nanometer scale is essential for a fundamental understanding, modelling and optimisation of optical properties like, e.g., plasmon resonances and structural colour. Similarly, quantitative knowledge of the 3D pore structure of particles, thin films and stationary phase materials is crucial for understanding, modelling and optimising for instance nanoparticle separation by chromatographic processes or gas transport properties for catalytic applications.

Electron microscopy and X-ray microscopy techniques play a key role for structural characterisation of nanoparticles, particle ensembles and nanoporous materials and are extensively used for evaluation of synthesis routes and particle and pore design principles.

The IMN performs cutting-edge electron microscopy, electron tomography and Nano-CT characterisation of nanoparticulate and nanoporous materials by using the excellent equipment of the Center for Nanoanalysis and Electron Microscopy (CENEM). The research in this area is mainly funded by the DFG within the Cluster of Excellence EXC 315 “Engineering of Advanced Materials” and via the Priority Programme (SPP) 1570 “Porous Media with Defined Porous Structure in Chemical Engineering – Modelling, Applications, Synthesis”. Within these projects, we have built up a remarkable track record throughout the last years in the field of nanotomography, since these 3D imaging techniques are often indispensable to unravel important properties of the studied class of material. Our research in this area is supposed to continue within the newly initiated SFB 1411 “Design of Particulate Products”, which is currently under review.

Current members

Current PhD students

Janis Wirth, M. Sc.

Cauerstraße 3
91058 Erlangen

Silvan Englisch, M. Sc.

Cauerstraße 3
91058 Erlangen

Graduated PhDs

Dr.-Ing. Stefanie Spallek

Dr.-Ing. Benjamin Apeleo Zubiri

Dr.-Ing. Thomas Przybilla