Liquid cell transmission electron microscopy and the impact of confinement on the precipitation from supersaturated solutions

Roland Kröger*, Andreas Verch

*Corresponding author for this work

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The study of nucleation and growth from supersaturated ion solutions is a key area of interest in biomineralization research and beyond with high-resolution in situ imaging techniques such as liquid cell transmission electron microscopy (LCTEM) attracting substantial attention. However, there is increasing experimental evidence that experiments performed with this technique differ from those performed in bulk solutions due to the spatial restriction, which is a prerequisite for LCTEM to provide electron transparent samples. We have performed 2D Finite Elements (FE) simulations to study the impact of confinement on the steady state concentration profiles around a nanoparticle in a supersaturated solution of the constituent ions. We find that confinement below a critical value significantly reduces the concentration of available ions in solutions and hence the stability of the precipitates. These findings could explain the necessity to substantially increase ion activities of Ca2+ and CO32− to induce precipitation in LCTEM
Original languageEnglish
Article number21
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2018 by the authors.


  • Confinement
  • Crystallization
  • Liquid cell TEM
  • Precipitation

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