Inorganic WS2 nanotubes revealed atom by atom using ultra-high-resolution transmission electron microscopy
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- Bar Sadan, M., Heidelmann, M., Houben, L. et al. Appl. Phys. A (2009) 96: 343. doi:10.1007/s00339-009-5208-0
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The characterization of nanostructures to the atomic dimensions becomes more important, as devices based on a single particle are being produced. In particular, inorganic nanotubes were shown to host interesting properties making them excellent candidates for various devices. The WS2 nanotubes outperform the bulk in their mechanical properties offering numerous applications especially as part of high strength nanocomposites. In contrast, their electrical properties are less remarkable. The structure–function relationship can be investigated by aberration-corrected high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), which enables the insight into their atomic structure as well as performing spectroscopic measurements down to the atomic scale. In the present work, the deciphering of atomic structure and the chiral angle of the different shells in a multiwall WS2 nanotube is demonstrated. In certain cases, the helicity of the structure can also be deduced. Finally, first electron energy loss spectra (EELS) of a single tube are presented, acquired by a new acquisition technique that allows for high spatial resolution (denoted StripeSTEM). The measured band gap values correspond with the values found in literature for thin films, obtained by spectroscopic techniques, and are higher than the values resulting from STM measurements.