Sunday, March 23, 2008

X-Ray Pole Figures of Copper-Oxide Films

1 comment:

Christopher Howard said...

The copper-colored images in the above figure are x-ray pole figures of copper-oxide (CuO) films that researchers at the University of Missouri, Rolla, have deposited on a gold surface. The gray background is a scanning electron microscope image of one of the CuO films. The researchers created the pole figures--which represent data, not images of molecules--using an advanced measuring instrument called an x-ray diffractometer. Scientists use x-ray pole figures to determine the atomic structure and orientation of crystalline materials. As with a person's right and left hands, the CuO films (and their pole figures) cannot be superimposed on one another. This concept is called chirality and is a characteristic of many biologically important molecules. The CuO films have been shown to distinguish between the left- and right-handed versions of molecules, an important trait researchers can use to create new chemical sensors and catalysts.

Credit: Jay Switzer and Eric Bohannan, University of Missouri, Rolla; National Science Foundation