Defect-Induced Atomic Migration in Carbon Nanopeapod:  Tracking the Single-Atom Dynamic Behavior

We demonstrate here the single-atom migration of Tb, Gd, or Ce metal from cage to cage through an intentionally induced atomic path within a carbon nanopeapod. The atomic path is actually an atomic defect (vacancy) induced at the fullerene cage during TEM observation. It is therefore proved that the atomic cage can be punctured by electron irradiation so that the imprisoned metal atoms can break out. The results definitively indicate the possibilities for an alternative method to transfer single atoms without using SPM tips but by using an “atomic carry-bag” such as fullerene.