Palladium Films Up Close

Thin Palladium Film

A thin film of pallladium imaged, in part, with a transmission electron microscope.
Image Credit: A. Kobler and C. Kübel, KIT/APS.

March 26, 2013

Everyday metals used for building materials, vehicles, and jewelry are composed of many small grains. Compacting and shrinking these constituent grains makes these metals even stronger and more resistant to high heat.

That's why scientists are increasingly interested in nanocrystalline metals made of super small grains, like the palladium sample seen above. To create this picture, scientists shot electrons through a very thin layer of nanocrystalline palladium. Further research aims to make these types of metals more stable and less prone to deformation — two setbacks caused by the smaller grain sizes.