Advances in the electron diffraction characterization of atomic clusters and nanoparticles

Arturo Ponce, Jeffery A. Aguilar, Jess Tate, Miguel José Yacamán

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Nanoparticles and metallic clusters continue to make a remarkable impact on novel and emerging technologies. In recent years, there have been impressive advances in the controlled synthesis of clusters and their advanced characterization. One of the most common ways to determine the structures of nanoparticles and clusters is by means of X-ray diffraction methods. However, this requires the clusters to crystallize in a similar way to those used in protein studies, which is not possible in many cases. Novel methods based on electron diffraction have been used to efficiently study individual nanoparticles and clusters and these can overcome the obstacles commonly encountered during X-ray diffraction methods without the need for large crystals. These novel methodologies have improved with advances in electron microscopy instrumentation and electron detection. Here, we review advanced methodologies for characterizing metallic nanoparticles and clusters using a variety of electron diffraction procedures. These include selected area electron diffraction, nanobeam diffraction, coherent electron diffraction, precession electron diffraction, scanning transmission electron microcopy diffraction, and high throughput data analytics, which leverage deep learning to reduce the propensity for data errors and translate nanometer and atomic scale measurements into material data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-325
Number of pages15
JournalNanoscale Advances
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 21 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science


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