Some two-dimensional (2D) exfoliated zeolites are single- or near single-unit cell thick silicates that can function as molecular sieves. Although they have already found uses as catalysts, adsorbents and membranes precise determination of their thickness and wrinkling is critical as these properties influence their functionality. Here we demonstrate a method to accurately determine the thickness and wrinkles of a 2D zeolite nanosheet by comprehensive 3D mapping of its reciprocal lattice. Since the intensity modulation of a diffraction spot on tilting is a fingerprint of the thickness, and changes in the spot shape are a measure of wrinkling, this mapping is achieved using a large-angle tilt-series of electron diffraction patterns. Application of the method to a 2D zeolite with MFI structure reveals that the exfoliated MFI nanosheet is 1.5 unit cells (3.0 nm) thick and wrinkled anisotropically with up to 0.8 nm average surface roughness.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported as part of the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences under Award DE-SC0001004. We thank M. Odlyzko and Professor J. Jeong for their helpful discussions.
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