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Nanoparticle Quilt

Sometimes we see a cool image and just want to tell you about it. Image Credit: Joe Tracy and Aaron Johnston-Peck, NC State University

This image is a colorized transmission electron microscope (TEM) micrograph, and shows the orientation of iron platinum (FePt) nanoparticles in a thin film. The image was created as part of a research effort published in Langmuir this month.

Most of the nanoparticles are enclosed by a hexagon of six neighboring nanoparticles. Each nanoparticle was color coded according to the angle (in degrees) of the hexagon’s orientation. Nanoparticles colored white were identified as defects, because they had four, five, seven or eight “nearest neighbors” – rather than six.

The number of surrounding nanoparticles and its orientation (or direction each cluster is pointing) is important because it can help researchers identify imperfections in the layer of nanoparticles.

FePt is a ferromagnetic material that is of particular interest for use in bit-patterned media (BPM). BPM is a replacement for conventional granular media and could potentially increase the storage density of devices, such as computer hard drives, by a factor of 10-20.

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