Electron Beam Induced Enhancement and Suppression of Oxidation in Cu Nanoparticles in Environmental Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy

Azin Ziashahabi, Anna Elsukova, Sara Nilsson, Marco Beleggia, Peter Stanley Jørgensen, Christoph Langhammer, Shima Kadkhodazadeh*

*Corresponding author for this work

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We have investigated the effects of high-energy electron irradiation on the oxidation of copper nanoparticles in environmental scanning transmission electron microscopy (ESTEM). The hemispherically shaped particles were oxidized in 3 mbar of O2 in a temperature range 100–200 °C. The evolution of the particles was recorded with sub-nanometer spatial resolution in situ in ESTEM. The oxidation encompasses the formation of outer and inner oxide shells on the nanoparticles, arising from the concurrent diffusion of copper and oxygen out of and into the nanoparticles, respectively. Our results reveal that the electron beam actively influences the reaction and overall accelerates the oxidation of the nanoparticles when compared to particles oxidized without exposure to the electron beam. However, the extent of this electron beam-assisted acceleration of oxidation diminishes at higher temperatures. Moreover, we observe that while oxidation through the outward diffusion of Cu+ cations is enhanced, the electron beam appears to hinder oxidation through the inward diffusion of O2– anions. Our results suggest that the impact of the high-energy electrons in ESTEM oxidation of Cu nanoparticles is mostly related to kinetic energy transfer, charging, and ionization of the gas environment, and the beam can both enhance and suppress reaction rates.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Nanoscience Au
Number of pages9
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

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