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Proceedings Paper

The characterization of nanoparticles using analytical electron microscopy
Author(s): Whitney B. Hill
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Paper Abstract

Nanoparticles are often overlooked during routine trace evidence analyses because of their small size and the degree of difficulty needed to efficiently characterize them. However, analytical electron microscopy (AEM) enables the characterization and/or identification of nanoparticles because of its high magnification capability, the ability to gather elemental data and also the ability to determine the internal structure of a single nanoparticles(1). There is a wide variety of natural and manufactured nanoparticles that are prominent within the environment and their presence becomes very valuable in the absence of larger particles. The combustion of materials produces by-products such as nano-sized carbon soot, fumes, fly ash and gun-shot residue (GSR). Using AEM, nano-sized carbon soot, fumes, fly ash and GSR can not only be distinguished from other nanoparticles within the environment but can also be distinguished from each other because of differences in morphology, elemental composition, and internal structure. The elemental information gathered from combustion by-products during AEM analysis can also give an indication of the original source material. Other nanoparticles such as paint pigments and fillers can also be characterized by AEM using morphology, electron diffraction and elemental composition.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 June 2011
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 8036, Scanning Microscopies 2011: Advanced Microscopy Technologies for Defense, Homeland Security, Forensic, Life, Environmental, and Industrial Sciences, 80360E (1 June 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.885115
Show Author Affiliations
Whitney B. Hill, MVA Scientific Consultants (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8036:
Scanning Microscopies 2011: Advanced Microscopy Technologies for Defense, Homeland Security, Forensic, Life, Environmental, and Industrial Sciences
Michael T. Postek; Dale E. Newbury; S. Frank Platek; David C. Joy; Tim K. Maugel, Editor(s)

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