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Title: Direct observation of atomic-level nucleation and growth processes from an ultrathin metallic glass films

Till date, there have been no direct atomic-level experimental observations of the earliest stages of the nucleation and growth processes of nanocrystals formed by thermally induced crystallization in ultrathin metallic glasses (MGs). Here, we present a study of the crystallization process in atomically thin and highly stable MG films using double spherical aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy (Cs-TEM). Taking advantage of the stability of MG films with a slow crystallization process and the atomic-level high resolution of Cs-TEM, we observe the formation of the nucleus precursor of nanocrystals formed by atom aggregation followed by concomitant coalescence and stepwise evolution of the shape of the nanocrystals with a monodispersed and separated bimodal size distribution. Molecular dynamics simulation of the atomic motion in the glass film on a rigid amorphous substrate confirms the stepwise evolution processes of atom aggregation, cluster formation, cluster movement on the substrate, and cluster coalescence into larger crystalline particles. Our results might provide a better fundamental understanding of the nucleation and growth processes of nanocrystals in thin MG films.
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190 (China)
  2. (China)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22494859
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Applied Physics; Journal Volume: 119; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: (c) 2016 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; CRYSTALLIZATION; FILMS; MAGNESIUM SULFIDES; METALLIC GLASSES; MOLECULAR DYNAMICS METHOD; NANOSTRUCTURES; NUCLEATION; STABILITY; TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY