Micro-Structural characterization of precipitation-synthesized fluorapatite nano-material by transmission electron microscopy using different sample preparation techniques

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Fluorapatite is a naturally occurring mineral of the apatite group and it is well known for its high physical and chemical stability. There is a recent interest in this ceramic to be used as a radioactive waste form material due to its intriguing chemical and physical properties. In this study, the nano-sized fluorapatite particles were synthesized using a precipitation method and the material was characterized using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Two well-known methods, called solution-drop and the microtome cutting, were used to prepare the sample for TEM analysis. It was found that the microtome cutting technique is advantageous for examining the particle shape and cross-sectional morphology as well as for obtaining ultra-thin samples. However, this method introduces artifacts and strong background contrast for high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) observation. On the other hand, phase image simulations showed that the solution-drop method is reliable and stable for HRTEM analysis. Therefore, in order to comprehensively analyze the microstructure and morphology of the nano-material, it is necessary to combine both solution-drop and microtome cutting techniques for TEM sample preparation.


Analytical Chemistry | Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics | Inorganic Chemistry | Materials Chemistry | Physical Chemistry


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