Where did all the clusters go?
Monday 20 January 2014

The Cover of the current issue of Nanoscale (Nanoscale, 2014, 6, 1258-1263) is an image of a size-selected gold cluster deposited onto the surface of a thin graphite crystal and imaged with the aberration-corrected STEM - but more interesting still are the clusters you can't see! Science City Research Fellow Simon Plant and colleagues show that at sufficiently high impact energy the clusters can propagate right through a few layers of graphene, to a thickness that depends on the cluster size. The potential application is in the creation of very precise pores in the carbon film that could be used to filter chemically synthesised nanoparticles, proteins etc. So in this case the clusters are not the building blocks of nanomaterials but rather a precision tool for nano-engineering - a surgical scalpel on the atomic scale.