Article

Dislocation nucleation facilitated by atomic segregation

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Abstract

Surface segregation—the enrichment of one element at the surface, relative to the bulk—is ubiquitous to multi-component materials. Using the example of a Cu–Au solid solution, we demonstrate that compositional variations induced by surface segregation are accompanied by misfit strain and the formation of dislocations in the subsurface region via a surface diffusion and trapping process. The resulting chemically ordered surface regions acts as an effective barrier that inhibits subsequent dislocation annihilation at free surfaces. Using dynamic, atomic-scale resolution electron microscopy observations and theory modelling, we show that the dislocations are highly active, and we delineate the specific atomic-scale mechanisms associated with their nucleation, glide, climb, and annihilation at elevated temperatures. These observations provide mechanistic detail of how dislocations nucleate and migrate at heterointerfaces in dissimilar-material systems.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering under Award No. DE-SC0001135. The authors thank H. Chi and S. House for their help in specimen preparation and testing. This research used resources of the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, which is a US DOE Office of Science Facility, at Brookhaven National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-SC0012704. This work used the computational resources from the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), which is supported by National Science Foundation grant number OCI-1053575. C.Y. and L.Q. acknowledge the computational resources and services provided by Advanced Research Computing at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science and Engineering Program, State University of New York at Binghamton, New York 13902, USA

    • Lianfeng Zou
    • , Qiyue Yin
    •  & Guangwen Zhou
  2. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA

    • Chaoming Yang
    •  & Liang Qi
  3. Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA

    • Yinkai Lei
    • , Jörg M. K. Wiezorek
    • , Zhenyu Liu
    •  & Guofeng Wang
  4. Center for Functional Nanomaterials, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York 11973, USA

    • Dmitri Zakharov
    • , Dong Su
    •  & Eric A. Stach
  5. Department of Physics, Applied Physics and Astronomy & Materials Science and Engineering Program, State University of New York, Binghamton, New York 13902, USA

    • Jonathan Li
  6. Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA

    • Judith C. Yang

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Contributions

G.Z. and L.Z. conceived the idea and designed the experiments. D.Z., L.Z., Q.Y., D.S. and E.A.S. performed the experiments. C.Y., Y.L., Z.L. and J.L. performed the DFT and MD simulations under the supervision of L.Q. and G.W. L.Z., G.Z., L.Q., Y.L. and C.Y. analysed the data. L.Z., G.Z., L.Q. and J.M.K.W. wrote the manuscript. G.Z. supervised the whole project. All the authors discussed the results and implications and commented on the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Guangwen Zhou.

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