Press release from CNRS: Crystallography : Electron diffraction locates hydrogen atoms

Crystallography : Electron diffraction locates hydrogen atoms

Diffraction-based analytical methods are widely used in laboratories, but they struggle to study samples that are smaller than a micrometer in size. Researchers from the Laboratoire de cristallographie et sciences des matériaux (CNRS/Ensicaen/Unicaen), the Laboratoire catalyse et spectrochimie (CNRS/Ensicaen/Unicaen)1, and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic have nevertheless been successful in using electron diffraction to reveal the structure of nanocrystals2. Their method is so sensitive that it has even located the position of hydrogen atoms for the first time, which is crucial in accessing the morphology of the molecules or the size of cavities in porous materials. This research, published on January 13, 2017, has made the front page of the journal Science.

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