Direct observation of solid-state reversed transformation from crystals to quasicrystals in a Mg alloy.
ABSTRACT: Phase transformation of quasicrystals is of interest in various fields of science and technology. Interestingly, we directly observed unexpected solid-state epitaxial nucleation and growth of Zn6Mg3Y icosahedral quasicrystals in a Mg alloy at about 573?K which is about 300?K below the melting point of Zn6Mg3Y, in contrast to formation of quasicrystals through solidification that was usually found in many alloys. Maximizing local packing density of atoms associated with segregation of Y and Zn in Mg adjacent to Mg/Zn3MgY interfaces triggered atomic rearrangement in Mg to form icosahedra coupled epitaxially with surface distorted icosahedra of Zn3MgY, which plays a critical role in the nucleation of icosahedral clusters. A local Zn:Mg:Y ratio close to 6:3:1, corresponding to a valence electron concentration of about 2.15, should have been reached to trigger the formation of quasicrystals at Mg/Zn3MgY interfaces. The solid-state icosahedral ordering in crystals opens a new window for growing quasicrystals and understanding their atomic origin mechanisms. Epitaxial growth of quasicrystals onto crystals can modify the surface/interface structures and properties of crystalline materials.
Project description:The Khatyrka meteorite contains both icosahedral and decagonal quasicrystals. In our previous studies, icosahedral quasicrystals have been synthesized and recovered from shock experiments at the interface between CuAl5 and stainless steel 304 alloys. In this study, we report a new shock recovery experiment aimed at synthesizing decagonal quasicrystals similar to decagonite, natural Al71Ni24Fe5. Aluminum 2024 and permalloy 80 alloys were stacked together and shocked in a stainless steel 304 recovery chamber. Abundant decagonal quasicrystals of average composition Al73Ni19Fe4Cu2Mg0.6Mo0.4Mn0.3 with traces of Si and Cr were found along the recovered interface between the Al and permalloy. The experiment also synthesized AlNiFe alloy with the B2 (CsCl-type) structure and the metastable Al9Ni2 phase. We present chemical (scanning electron microscopy and electron microprobe) and structural (electron backscatter diffraction and transmission electron microscopy) characterization of the recovered phases and discuss the implications of this shock synthesis for the stability of quasicrystals during high-pressure shocks and for the interpretation of the phase assemblage found in Khatyrka.
Project description:Dislocations in crystals naturally break the symmetry of the bulk, introducing local atomic configurations with symmetries such as fivefold rings. But dislocations do not usually nucleate aperiodic structure along their length. Here we demonstrate the formation of extended binary quasicrystalline precipitates with Penrose-like random-tiling structures, beginning with chemical ordering within the pentagonal structure at cores of prismatic dislocations in Mg-Zn alloys. Atomic resolution observations indicate that icosahedral chains centered along  pillars of Zn interstitial atoms are formed templated by the fivefold rings at dislocation cores. They subsequently form columns of rhombic and elongated hexagonal tiles parallel to the dislocation lines. Quasicrystalline precipitates are formed by random tiling of these rhombic and hexagonal tiles. Such precipitation may impact dislocation glide and alloy strength.
Project description:A systematic study of the structures of ternary icosahedral Yb–Cd–Mg quasicrystals with different Mg contents has been carried out by single-crystal X-ray diffraction; occupational and positional disorder in the resulting structures was compared with that in a Yb–Cd–Mg 1/1 approximant. Atomic structures of ternary icosahedral (i) Yb–Cd–Mg quasicrystals (QCs) with five different Mg contents up to 46.4?at.% and a corresponding 1/1 approximant (AP), which has a composition of Yb13.3Cd70.3Mg16.5, have been analysed by single-crystal X-ray diffraction. The structures of the iQCs were found to be isostructural to the parent i-YbCd5.7, which consists of a so-called Tsai-type rhombic triacontahedron (RTH) cluster and double Friauf polyhedron, and that of the 1/1 AP was found to be isostructural to YbCd6, which is described by a body-centred packing of the same type of RTH cluster. In the iQCs, it was found that there are three types of Cd/Mg occupation, namely, Cd preferential site, Mg preferential site and Cd/Mg mixed site, and the occupation probabilities of Mg atoms at the Mg preferential site show a saturation behaviour around the Mg content of 20?at.%. This selective Mg occupation is identified as a cause of the non-linear increase in the icosahedral lattice constant with increasing Mg content. The 1/1 AP has a similar selective Mg occupation to that of the iQCs in terms of the shell structures of the Tsai-type RTH cluster. In both iQCs and the 1/1 AP, the Mg preferential sites have a smaller number of Yb atoms among their coordination numbers. Moreover, short-range order (s.r.o.) diffuse scattering was observed on the diffraction patterns of the iQCs at the positions corresponding to a face-centred-type (F-type) icosahedral superlattice. The F-type s.r.o. was found to result from the Mg substitution.
Project description:This study presents a unique Mg-based alloy composition in the Mg-Zn-Yb system which exhibits bulk metallic glass, metastable icosahedral quasicrystals (iQCs), and crystalline approximant phases in the as-cast condition. Microscopy revealed a smooth gradual transition from glass to QC. We also report the complete melting of a metastable eutectic phase mixture (including a QC phase), generated via suppression of the metastable-to-stable phase transition at high heating rates using fast differential scanning calorimetry (FDSC). The melting temperature and enthalpy of fusion of this phase mixture could be measured directly, which unambiguously proves its metastability in any temperature range. The kinetic pathway from liquid state to stable solid state (an approximant phase) minimizes the free-energy barrier for nucleation through an intermediate state (metastable QC phase) because of its low solid-liquid interfacial energy. At high undercooling of the liquid, where diffusion is limited, another approximant phase with near-liquid composition forms just above the glass-transition temperature. These experimental results shed light on the competition between metastable and stable crystals, and on glass formation via system frustration associated with the presence of several free-energy minima.
Project description:Aluminum-based quasicrystals typically form across narrow composition ranges within binary to quaternary alloys, which makes their fabrication and characterization challenging. Here, we use combinatorial approaches together with fast characterization techniques to study a wide compositional range including known quasicrystal forming compositions. Specifically, we use magnetron co-sputtering to fabricate libraries of ~140 Al-Cu-Fe and ~300 Al-Cu-Fe-Cr alloys. The alloys compositions are measured through automated energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Phase formation and thermal stability are investigated for different thermal processing conditions (as-sputtered and annealed at 400?°C, 520?°C and 600?°C for Al-Cu-Fe libraries; annealed at 600?°C for Al-Cu-Fe-Cr libraries) using automated X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy. In both systems the compositional regions across which the quasicrystalline phase forms are identified. In particular, we demonstrate that the quasicrystalline phase forms across an unusually broad composition range in the Al-Cu-Fe-Cr system. Additionally, some of the considered alloys vitrify during sputtering, which also allows us to study their nucleation behavior. We find that phases with polytetrahedral symmetry, such as the icosahedral quasicrystal and the ?-Al<sub>13</sub>Fe<sub>4</sub> phase, exhibit higher nucleation rates but lower growth rates, as compared to other phases with a lower degree of polytetrahedral order. Altogether, the here used combinatorial approach is powerful to identify compositional regions of quasicrystals.
Project description:Plasmonic quasicrystals (PlQCs), by integrating the properties of quasicrystals (rotational symmetry and long range ordering but lack translational symmetry) and surface plasmon polariton mediated effects, offer several advantages over plasmonic crystals (PlCs). For example, in PlQCs one could have broadband, polarization independent response. However, large area patterning by electron beam lithography requires precise lattice coordinates as well as a practical way to design the structures for specific spectral response. We demonstrate design and fabrication of large area quasicrystal air hole patterns of π/5 symmetry in metal film in which broadband, polarization and launch angle independent transmission enhancement is observed. We demonstrate bi-grating quasicrystals to show that designable transmission response is possible over visible to near infrared wavelength regions with about 15 times enhancement. These would be useful in many applications like energy harvesting, nonlinear optics and quantum plasmonics.
Project description:Quasicrystals (QCs), first discovered in 1984, generally do not exhibit long-range magnetic order. Here, we report on long-range magnetic order in the real icosahedral quasicrystals (<i>i</i> QCs) Au-Ga-Gd and Au-Ga-Tb. The Au<sub>65</sub>Ga<sub>20</sub>Gd<sub>15</sub> <i>i</i> QC exhibits a ferromagnetic transition at <i>T</i><sub>C</sub> = 23 K, manifested as a sharp anomaly in both magnetic susceptibility and specific heat measurements, along with an appearance of magnetic Bragg peak below <i>T</i><sub>C</sub>. This is the first observation of long-range magnetic order in a real quasicrystal, in contrast to the spin-glass-like behaviors observed for the other magnetic quasicrystals found to date. Moreover, when Gd is replaced by Tb, i.e., for the Au<sub>65</sub>Ga<sub>20</sub>Tb<sub>15</sub> <i>i</i> QC, a ferromagnetic behavior is still retained with <i>T</i><sub>C</sub> = 16 K. Although the sharp anomaly in the specific heat observed for the Au<sub>65</sub>Ga<sub>20</sub>Gd<sub>15</sub> <i>i</i> QC becomes broadened upon Tb substitution, neutron diffraction experiments clearly show marked development of magnetic Bragg peaks just below <i>T</i><sub>C</sub>, indicating long-range magnetic order for the Au<sub>65</sub>Ga<sub>20</sub>Tb<sub>15</sub> <i>i</i> QC also. Our findings can contribute to the further investigation of exotic magnetic orders formed on real quasiperiodic lattices with <i>unprecedented</i> highest global symmetry, i.e., icosahedral symmetry.
Project description:The surprising recent discoveries of quasicrystals and their approximants in soft-matter systems poses the intriguing possibility that these structures can be realized in a broad range of nanoscale and microscale assemblies. It has been theorized that soft-matter quasicrystals and approximants are largely entropically stabilized, but the thermodynamic mechanism underlying their formation remains elusive. Here, we use computer simulation and free-energy calculations to demonstrate a simple design heuristic for assembling quasicrystals and approximants in soft-matter systems. Our study builds on previous simulation studies of the self-assembly of dodecagonal quasicrystals and approximants in minimal systems of spherical particles with complex, highly specific interaction potentials. We demonstrate an alternative entropy-based approach for assembling dodecagonal quasicrystals and approximants based solely on particle functionalization and shape, thereby recasting the interaction-potential-based assembly strategy in terms of simpler-to-achieve bonded and excluded-volume interactions. Here, spherical building blocks are functionalized with mobile surface entities to encourage the formation of structures with low surface contact area, including non-close-packed and polytetrahedral structures. The building blocks also possess shape polydispersity, where a subset of the building blocks deviate from the ideal spherical shape, discouraging the formation of close-packed crystals. We show that three different model systems with both of these features-mobile surface entities and shape polydispersity-consistently assemble quasicrystals and/or approximants. We argue that this design strategy can be widely exploited to assemble quasicrystals and approximants on the nanoscale and microscale. In addition, our results further elucidate the formation of soft-matter quasicrystals in experiment.
Project description:Starting from a coarse grained representation of the building units of the minute virus of mice and a flexible polyelectrolyte molecule, we have explored the mechanism of assembly into icosahedral structures with the help of Langevin dynamics simulations and the parallel tempering technique. Regular icosahedra with appropriate symmetry form only in a narrow range of temperature and polymer length. Within this region of parameters where successful assembly would proceed, we have systematically investigated the growth kinetics. The assembly of icosahedra is found to follow the classical nucleation and growth mechanism in the absence of the polymer, with the three regimes of nucleation, linear growth, and slowing down in the later stage. The calculated average nucleation time obeys the laws expected from the classical nucleation theory. The linear growth rate is found to obey the laws of secondary nucleation as in the case of lamellar growth in polymer crystallization. The same mechanism is seen in the simulations of the assembly of icosahedra in the presence of the polymer as well. The polymer reduces the nucleation barrier significantly by enhancing the local concentration of subunits via adsorbing them on their backbone. The details of growth in the presence of the polymer are also found to be consistent with the classical nucleation theory, despite the smallness of the assembled structures.
Project description:The atomic structure of quasicrystals (QCs) is described as a section of a higher-dimensional structure that consists of a periodic arrangement of occupation domains (ODs). Determination of the shape of ODs and their partitioning is crucial in the structural analysis of QCs. However, owing to the complicated shape of ODs, building the initial structure model requires a great deal of time and effort. Thus, a computer program for building structure models of QCs is needed. Presented here is a Python3 package for structure modelling of icosahedral QCs.