ABSTRACT: 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:Icosahedral quasicrystals (i-phases) in the Al-Cu-Fe system are of great interest because of their perfect quasicrystalline structure and natural occurrences in the Khatyrka meteorite. The natural quasicrystal of composition Al62Cu31Fe7, referred to as i-phase II, is unique because it deviates significantly from the stability field of i-phase and has not been synthesized in a laboratory setting to date. Synthetic i-phases formed in shock-recovery experiments present a novel strategy for exploring the stability of new quasicrystal compositions and prove the impact origin of natural quasicrystals. In this study, an Al-Cu-W graded density impactor (GDI, originally manufactured as a ramp-generating impactor but here used as a target) disk was shocked to sample a full range of Al/Cu starting ratios in an Fe-bearing 304 stainless-steel target chamber. In a strongly deformed region of the recovered sample, reactions between the GDI and the steel produced an assemblage of co-existing Al61.5Cu30.3Fe6.8Cr1.4 i-phase II + stolperite (?, AlCu) + khatyrkite (?, Al2Cu), an exact match to the natural i-phase II assemblage in the meteorite. In a second experiment, the continuous interface between the GDI and steel formed another more Fe-rich quinary i-phase (Al68.6Fe14.5Cu11.2Cr4Ni1.8), together with stolperite and hollisterite (?, Al13Fe4), which is the expected assemblage at phase equilibrium. This study is the first laboratory reproduction of i-phase II with its natural assemblage. It suggests that the field of thermodynamically stable icosahedrite (Al63Cu24Fe13) could separate into two disconnected fields under shock pressure above 20?GPa, leading to the co-existence of Fe-rich and Fe-poor i-phases like the case in Khatyrka. In light of this, shock-recovery experiments do indeed offer an efficient method of constraining the impact conditions recorded by quasicrystal-bearing meteorite, and exploring formation conditions and mechanisms leading to quasicrystals.
Project description:The first test explosion of a nuclear bomb, the Trinity test of 16 July 1945, resulted in the fusion of surrounding sand, the test tower, and copper transmission lines into a glassy material known as "trinitite." Here, we report the discovery, in a sample of red trinitite, of a hitherto unknown composition of icosahedral quasicrystal, Si<sub>61</sub>Cu<sub>30</sub>Ca<sub>7</sub>Fe<sub>2</sub> It represents the oldest extant anthropogenic quasicrystal currently known, with the distinctive property that its precise time of creation is indelibly etched in history. Like the naturally formed quasicrystals found in the Khatyrka meteorite and experimental shock syntheses of quasicrystals, the anthropogenic quasicrystals in red trinitite demonstrate that transient extreme pressure-temperature conditions are suitable for the synthesis of quasicrystals and for the discovery of new quasicrystal-forming systems.
Project description:We report the first occurrence of a natural quasicrystal with decagonal symmetry. The quasicrystal, with composition Al71Ni24Fe5, was discovered in the Khatyrka meteorite, a recently described CV3 carbonaceous chondrite. Icosahedrite, Al63Cu24Fe13, the first natural quasicrystal to be identified, was found in the same meteorite. The new quasicrystal was found associated with steinhardtite (Al38Ni32Fe30), Fe-poor steinhardtite (Al50Ni40Fe10), Al-bearing trevorite (NiFe2O4) and Al-bearing taenite (FeNi). Laboratory studies of decagonal Al71Ni24Fe5 have shown that it is stable over a narrow range of temperatures, 1120 K to 1200 K at standard pressure, providing support for our earlier conclusion that the Khatyrka meteorite reached heterogeneous high temperatures [1100 < T(K) ≤ 1500] and then rapidly cooled after being heated during an impact-induced shock that occurred in outer space 4.5 Gya. The occurrences of metallic Al alloyed with Cu, Ni, and Fe raises new questions regarding conditions that can be achieved in the early solar nebula.
Project description: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:A set of X-ray data collected on a fragment of decagonite, Al<sub>71</sub>Ni<sub>24</sub>Fe<sub>5</sub>, the only known natural decagonal quasicrystal found in a meteorite formed at the beginning of the Solar System, allowed us to determine the first structural model for a natural quasicrystal. It is a two-layer structure with decagonal columnar clusters arranged according to the pentagonal Penrose tiling. The structural model showed peculiarities and slight differences with respect to those obtained for other synthetic decagonal quasicrystals. Interestingly, decagonite is found to exhibit low linear phason strain and a high degree of perfection despite the fact it was formed under conditions very far from those used in the laboratory.
Project description:While quasicrystals possess long-range orientational order they lack translation periodicity. Considerable advancements in the elucidation of their structures and formative principles contrast with comparatively uncharted interrelations, as studies bridging the spatial scales from atoms to the macroscale are scarce. Here, we report on the homogeneous nucleation of a single quasicrystalline seed from the undercooled melt of glass-forming NiZr and its continuous growth into a tenfold twinned dendritic microstructure. Observing a series of crystallization events on electrostatically levitated NiZr confirms homogeneous nucleation. Mapping the microstructure with electron backscatter diffraction suggests a unique, distortion-free structure merging a common structure type of binary alloys with a spiral growth mechanism resembling phyllotaxis. A general geometric description, relating all atomic loci, observed by atomic resolution electron microscopy, to a pentagonal [Formula: see text] module, explains how the seed's decagonal long-range orientational order is conserved throughout the symmetry breaking steps of twinning and dendritic growth.
Project description:The first natural-occurring quasicrystal, icosahedrite, was recently discovered in the Khatyrka meteorite, a new CV3 carbonaceous chondrite. Its finding raised fundamental questions regarding the effects of pressure and temperature on the kinetic and thermodynamic stability of the quasicrystal structure relative to possible isochemical crystalline or amorphous phases. Although several studies showed the stability at ambient temperature of synthetic icosahedral AlCuFe up to ~35?GPa, the simultaneous effect of temperature and pressure relevant for the formation of icosahedrite has been never investigated so far. Here we present in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction experiments on synthetic icosahedral AlCuFe using multianvil device to explore possible temperature-induced phase transformations at pressures of 5?GPa and temperature up to 1773?K. Results show the structural stability of i-AlCuFe phase with a negligible effect of pressure on the volumetric thermal expansion properties. In addition, the structural analysis of the recovered sample excludes the transformation of AlCuFe quasicrystalline phase to possible approximant phases, which is in contrast with previous predictions at ambient pressure. Results from this study extend our knowledge on the stability of icosahedral AlCuFe at higher temperature and pressure than previously examined, and provide a new constraint on the stability of icosahedrite.
Project description:Traditional strengthening ways, such as strain, precipitation, and solid-solution, come into effect by pinning the motion of dislocation. Here, through first-principles calculations we report on an extra-electron induced covalent strengthening mechanism, which alters chemical bonding upon the introduction of extra-valence electrons in the matrix of parent materials. It is responsible for the brittle and high-strength properties of Al(12)W-type compounds featured by the typical fivefold icosahedral cages, which are common for quasicrystals and bulk metallic glasses (BMGs). In combination with this mechanism, we generalize ductile-to-brittle criterion in a universal hyperbolic form by integrating the classical Pettifor's Cauchy pressure with Pugh's modulus ratio for a wide variety of materials with cubic lattices. This study provides compelling evidence to correlate Pugh's modulus ratio with hardness of materials and may have implication for understanding the intrinsic brittleness of quasicrystals and BMGs.
Project description:Quasicrystals and their approximants have triggered widespread interest due to the challenge of solving their complex crystal structures as well as their possibly exceptional properties. The structural motifs of approximants are similar to those of the corresponding quasicrystals, but to what extent are their crystallization pathways the same? Unfortunately, there have been very few in situ experimental investigations to answer this question. Here, by leveraging the high penetrating power of hard X-rays, synchrotron-based X-ray tomography was conducted in order to capture the nucleation and growth of a decagonal quasicrystal and its related approximant. The combination of data-driven computational analysis with new thermodynamic databases allowed the characterization, with high precision, of the constitutional and kinetic driving forces for crystallization. The experimental results prove that the growth of both crystals from a liquid is dominated by first-order kinetics. Nevertheless, and somewhat surprisingly, significant differences were observed in their rates of nucleation and growth. The reasons for such divergent behaviours are discussed in light of contemporary theories of intermetallic crystallization.
Project description:The packing of spheres is a subject that has drawn the attention of mathematicians and philosophers for centuries and that currently attracts the interest of the scientific community in several fields. At the nanoscale, the packing of atoms affects the chemical and structural properties of the material and, hence, its potential applications. This report describes the experimental formation of 5-fold nanostructures by the packing of interpenetrated icosahedral and decahedral units. These nanowires, formed by the reaction of a mixture of metal salts (Au and Ag) in the presence of oleylamine, are obtained when the chemical composition is specifically Ag/Au = 3:1. The experimental images of the icosahedral nanowires have a high likelihood with simulated electron micrographs of structures formed by two or three Boerdijk-Coxeter-Bernal helices roped on a single structure, whereas for the decahedral wires, simulations using a model of adjacent decahedra match the experimental structures. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the synthesis of nanowires formed by the packing of structures with 5-fold symmetry. These icosahedral nanowire structures are similar to those of quasicrystals, which can only be formed if at least two atomic species are present and in which icosahedral and decahedral packing has been found for bulk crystals.