4D-STEM Mapping of Nanocrystal Reaction Dynamics and Heterogeneity in a Graphene Liquid Cell

Chang Liu, Oliver Lin, Saran Pidaparthy, Haoyang Ni, Zhiheng Lyu, Jian Min Zuo, Qian Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chemical reaction kinetics at the nanoscale are intertwined with heterogeneity in structure and composition. However, mapping such heterogeneity in a liquid environment is extremely challenging. Here we integrate graphene liquid cell (GLC) transmission electron microscopy and four-dimensional scanning transmission electron microscopy to image the etching dynamics of gold nanorods in the reaction media. Critical to our experiment is the small liquid thickness in a GLC that allows the collection of high-quality electron diffraction patterns at low dose conditions. Machine learning-based data-mining of the diffraction patterns maps the three-dimensional nanocrystal orientation, groups spatial domains of various species in the GLC, and identifies newly generated nanocrystallites during reaction, offering a comprehensive understanding on the reaction mechanism inside a nanoenvironment. This work opens opportunities in probing the interplay of structural properties such as phase and strain with solution-phase reaction dynamics, which is important for applications in catalysis, energy storage, and self-assembly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3890-3897
Number of pages8
JournalNano letters
Issue number13
StatePublished - Apr 3 2024


  • Four-dimensional scanning transmission electron microscopy
  • graphene liquid cell electron microscopy
  • nanocrystal etching dynamics
  • nanostructural heterogeneity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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