Cryo-transmission electron microscopy of Ag nanoparticles grown on an ionic liquid substrate

Dalaver H. Anjum, Rebecca M. Stiger, James J. Finley, James F. Conway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We report a novel method of growing silver nanostructures by cathodic sputtering onto an ionic liquid (IL) and our visualization by transmission cryo-electron microscopy to avoid beam-induced motion of the nanoparticles. By freezing the IL suspension and controlling electron dose, we can assess properties of particle size, morphology, crystallinity, and aggregation in situ and at high detail. We observed round silver nanoparticles with a well-defined diameter of 7.0 ± 1.5 nm that are faceted with crystalline cubic structures and ∼80% of the particles have multiply twinned faults. We also applied cryo-electron tomography to investigate the structure of the nanoparticles and to directly visualize the IL wetting around them. In addition to particles, we observed nanorods that appear to have assembled from individual nanoparticles. Reexamination of the samples after 4-5 days from initial preparation showed significant changes in morphology, and potential mechanisms for this are discussed.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)1264-1271
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Materials Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2010


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