Helium-ion microscopy (HIM) is used for the first time to image nascent soot nanoparticles. HIM is ideal for rapid and reliable probing of the structural features of nanocarbon materials. Analyzed with this method, nascent soot particles <15 nm reveal structural features that have escaped in earlier studies by Transmission Electron Microscopy. The results suggest that nascent soot is structurally and chemically inhomogeneous. Even the smallest particles may deviate from spherical shape, and aggregates are formed early in the process.
M. Schenk, S. Lieb, H. Vieker, A. Beyer, Armin Gölzhäuser, H. Wang, K. Kohse-Höinghaus, ChemPhysChem 14(14), 3248–3254, 2013. [10.1002/cphc.201300581]