Direct imaging of local atomic structures in zeolite using optimum bright-field scanning transmission electron microscopy



Kousuke Ooe, Takehito Seki, Kaname Yoshida, Yuji Kohno, Yuichi Ikuhara and Naoya Shibata



Zeolites are used in industries as catalysts, ion exchangers, and molecular sieves because of their unique porous atomic structures. However, direct observation of zeolitic local atomic structures via electron microscopy is difficult owing to low electron irradiation resistance. Subsequently, their fundamental structure-property relationships remain unclear. A low-electron-dose imaging technique, optimum bright-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (OBF STEM), has recently been developed. It reconstructs images with a high signal-to-noise ratio and a dose efficiency approximately two orders of magnitude higher than that of conventional methods. Here, we performed low-dose atomic-resolution OBF STEM observations of two types of zeolite, effectively visualizing all atomic sites in their frameworks. In addition, we visualized the complex local atomic structure of the twin boundaries in a faujasite (FAU)–type zeolite and Na+ ions with low occupancy in eight-membered rings in a Na-Linde Type A (LTA) zeolite. The results of this study facilitate the characterization of local atomic structures in many electron beam–sensitive materials.




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