In situ electron driven carbon nanopillar-fullerene transformation through Cr atom mediation
L. Zhao, H. Q. Ta, A. Dianat, A. Soni, A. Fediai, W. Yin, T. Gemming, B. Trzbicka, G. Cuniberti, Z. Liu, A. Bachmatiuk, M. H. Rümmeli
Nano Letters 17 (8), 4725-4732 (2017)
The promise of sp2 nanomaterials remains immense, and ways to strategically combine and manipulate these nanostructures will further enhance their potential as well as advance nanotechnology as a whole. The scale of these structures requires precision at the atomic scale. In this sense electron microscopes are attractive as they offer both atomic imaging and a means to structurally modify structures. Here we show how Cr atoms can be used as physical linkers to connect carbon nanotubes and fullerenes to graphene. Crucially, while under electron irradiation, the Cr atoms can drive transformations such as catalytic healing of a hole in graphene with simultaneous transformation of a single wall carbon nanotube into a fullerene. The atomic resolution of the electron microscopy along with density functional theory based total energy calculations provide insight into the dynamic transformations of Cr atom linkers. The work augments the potential of transmission electron microscopes as nanolaboratories.