Nanoscale Mineralogical Characterization of Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Samples by Transmission Electron Microscopy: A Review

Jieqi Xing, Haiyang Xian, Yiping Yang, Qingze Chen, Jiaxin Xi, Shan Li, Hongping He, and Jianxi Zhu*

ACS Earth Space Chem. 2023, XXXX, XXX, XXX-XXX
Publication Date: January 17, 2023


“Nanoscale minerals (i.e., nanominerals and mineral nanoparticles) in terrestrial and extraterrestrial materials are difficult to characterize because of their small particle sizes, high surface energy, and/or poor crystallization. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is a powerful analytical platform for the characterization of minerals at the nano and even atomic scales, and it can determine their morphology through imaging, derive structural information using multiple electron-diffraction techniques, and investigate chemical compositions. Since the 1990s, the application of TEM to the characterization of nanoscale minerals has developed rapidly into a core technique in nanoscale Earth and planetary science (NEPS). This review introduces a brief history and the general principles of TEM, considers detailed methods of preparing specimens for nanoscale mineralogical characterization by TEM, and emphasizes the contributions of TEM to multiple NEPS research fields in recent decades. These contributions are considered from the perspective of nanoscale mineralogical studies of morphology, structure, and chemistry in complex geological materials. Finally, the work provides an outlook on current opportunities to apply TEM methods to nanoscale mineralogical study. This review aims to provide common and practical TEM methods to NEPS researchers and to support the use of TEM for a wide range of applications in nanoscale mineralogy to promote NEPS development.”