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Polymorphism of dislocation core structures at the atomic scale

Nature Communications volume 5, Article number: 3239 (2014) | Download Citation

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Abstract

Dislocation defects together with their associated strain fields and segregated impurities are of considerable significance in many areas of materials science. However, their atomic-scale structures have remained extremely challenging to resolve, limiting our understanding of these ubiquitous defects. Here, by developing a complex modelling approach in combination with bicrystal experiments and systematic atomic-resolution imaging, we are now able to pinpoint individual dislocation cores at the atomic scale, leading to the discovery that even simple magnesium oxide can exhibit polymorphism of core structures for a given dislocation species. These polymorphic cores are associated with local variations in strain fields, segregation of defects, and electronic states, adding a new dimension to understanding the properties of dislocations in real materials. The findings advance our fundamental understanding of basic behaviours of dislocations and demonstrate that quantitative prediction and characterization of dislocations in real materials is possible.

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Acknowledgements

This work was conducted in part in the Research Hub for Advanced Nano Characterization and the ‘Nanotechnology Platform’ at the University of Tokyo supported by the MEXT of Japan, and was supported in part by the Elements Strategy Initiative for Structural Materials by the MEXT by Japan. Z.W. thanks the financial supports from the Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (A) (grant no. 24686069), the Challenging Exploratory Research (grant no. 24656376), the Sasakawa Scientific Research Grant and the JGC-S Foundation. K.P.M acknowledges the financial support from The Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) (grant EP/K003151) and access to high-performance computational resource by UK’s Materials Chemistry Consortium (EPSRC grant EP/F067496). Calculations were conducted in part at the Institute for Solid State Physics (ISSP), University of Tokyo.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. WPI, Advanced Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University, 2-1-1 Katahira, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8577, Japan

    • Zhongchang Wang
    • , Mitsuhiro Saito
    •  & Yuichi Ikuhara
  2. Department of Physics, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK

    • Keith P. McKenna
  3. Institute of Engineering Innovation, The University of Tokyo, 2-11-16, Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan

    • Yuichi Ikuhara
  4. Nanostructures Research Laboratory, Japan Fine Ceramics Center, 2-4-1 Mutsuno, Atsuta, Nagoya 456-8587, Japan

    • Yuichi Ikuhara
  5. Center for Elements Strategy Initiative for Structure Materials, Kyoto University, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan

    • Yuichi Ikuhara

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Contributions

Z.W. prepared specimen, carried out calculations and wrote the paper. M.S. took images and conducted image processing. K.P.M. performed calculations. Y.I. discussed the results and directed the entire study. All authors read and commented on the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Zhongchang Wang.

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    Supplementary Information

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms4239

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