Letter abstract

Nature Materials 8, 717 - 720 (2009)
Published online: 26 July 2009 | doi:10.1038/nmat2506

Subject Categories: Metals and alloys | Characterisation and analytical techniques

Atomic diffusion studied with coherent X-rays

Michael Leitner1, Bogdan Sepiol1, Lorenz-Mathias Stadler2, Bastian Pfau3 & Gero Vogl1


Knowledge of atomic diffusion is a fundamental issue in synthesis and stability of materials. Direct studies of the elementary diffusion event, that is, how the individual atoms 'jump', are scarce, as the available techniques are limited to selected systems1. Here we show how by monitoring the spatial and temporal variations of the scattered coherent X-ray intensity the diffusion of single atoms can be studied. This is demonstrated for the intermetallic alloy Cu90Au10. By measuring along several directions in reciprocal space, we can elucidate the dynamical behaviour of single atoms as a function of their neighbourhood. This method, usually referred to as X-ray photon correlation spectroscopy2, 3, 4, 5 (XPCS), does not rely on specific atomic species or isotopes and can thus be applied to almost any system. Thus, given the advent of the next-generation X-ray sources, XPCS has the potential to become the main method for quantitatively understanding diffusion on the atomic scale.

  1. Fakultät für Physik, Universität Wien, Strudlhofgasse 4, 1090 Wien, Austria
  2. HASYLAB at DESY, Notkestr. 85, 22607 Hamburg, Germany
  3. Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH, Glienicker Str. 100, 14109 Berlin, Germany

Correspondence to: Michael Leitner1 e-mail: michael.leitner@univie.ac.at


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