Dissolution Processes at Step Edges of Calcite in Water Investigated by High-Speed Frequency Modulation Atomic Force Microscopy and Simulation
mediaposted on 26.06.2017, 00:00 by Kazuki Miyata, John Tracey, Keisuke Miyazawa, Ville Haapasilta, Peter Spijker, Yuta Kawagoe, Adam S. Foster, Katsuo Tsukamoto, Takeshi Fukuma
The microscopic understanding of the crystal growth and dissolution processes have been greatly advanced by the direct imaging of nanoscale step flows by atomic force microscopy (AFM), optical interferometry, and X-ray microscopy. However, one of the most fundamental events that govern their kinetics, namely, atomistic events at the step edges, have not been well understood. In this study, we have developed high-speed frequency modulation AFM (FM-AFM) and enabled true atomic-resolution imaging in liquid at ∼1 s/frame, which is ∼50 times faster than the conventional FM-AFM. With the developed AFM, we have directly imaged subnanometer-scale surface structures around the moving step edges of calcite during its dissolution in water. The obtained images reveal that the transition region with typical width of a few nanometers is formed along the step edges. Building upon insight in previous studies, our simulations suggest that the transition region is most likely to be a Ca(OH)2 monolayer formed as an intermediate state in the dissolution process. On the basis of this finding, we improve our understanding of the atomistic dissolution model of calcite in water. These results open up a wide range of future applications of the high-speed FM-AFM to the studies on various dynamic processes at solid–liquid interfaces with true atomic resolution.