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  Dynamic Observation of an Atom-Sized Gold Wire by Phase Electron Microscopy

A single-atom-sized gold wire is successfully observed in real time by a newly developed spherical aberration-free phase transmission electron microscope. A series of images shows how the single-atom strand wire was formed under intense electron beam irradiation. Because of phase retrieval processing with spherical aberration correction, the wire can be observed with high contrast and without contrast blurring. Dynamic observation of the wire showed that the center atom indicated by a white arrow moved right and left to maintain a normal atomic distance in the bulk crystal when the crystals of both sides gradually separated, though it was broken when the distance became greater than that of the nearest-neighbor atoms. High-resolution phase electron microscopy will provide us a key means for studying atomic-scale dynamic phenomena that occur on surfaces and interfaces.

 

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