Shifting of the morphotropic phase boundary and superior piezoelectric response in Nb-doped Pb(Zr, Ti)O3 epitaxial thin films

Z-X Zhu et al

A shift of the morphotropic phase boundary (MPB) and a superior piezoelectric response are observed in Nb-doped Pb(ZrxTi1−x)O3 (PNZT) thin films epitaxially grown on Nb-doped SrTiO3(1 0 0) (Nb:STO) substrates. X-ray diffraction and Raman spectra characterizations confirm that a phase transition from a tetragonal structure to a rhombohedral structure occurs when the Zr/Ti ratio varies from 20/80 to 80/20. The phenomenological theory and experimental analyses suggest that the MPB of epitaxial PNZT thin films is shifted to the higher Zr/Ti ratio (around 70/30) from the conventional ratio (52/48) due to the misfit compressive stress induced by the substrate. A maximum local effective longitudinal piezoelectric coefficient (d33) up to 307 pm V−1 is observed at a Zr/Ti ratio of 70/30 in the current compositional range, again confirming the shifting of MPB in epitaxial PNZT thin films. These findings offer a new insight for the fabrication of epitaxial PZT thin films at MPB with a superior piezoelectric response.

A paper in the recent Nature Materials (via iMechanica):

In situ observation of dislocation nucleation and escape in a submicrometre aluminium single crystal

S H Oh et al

‘Smaller is stronger’ does not hold true only for nanocrystalline materials but also for single crystals. It is argued that this effect is caused by geometrical constraints on the nucleation and motion of dislocations in submicrometre-sized crystals. Here, we report the first in situ transmission electron microscopy tensile tests of a submicrometre aluminium single crystal that are capable of providing direct insight into source-controlled dislocation plasticity in a submicrometre crystal. Single-ended sources emit dislocations that escape the crystal before being able to multiply. As dislocation nucleation and loss rates are counterbalanced at about 0.2 events per second, the dislocation density remains statistically constant throughout the deformation at strain rates of about 10-4 s-1. However, a sudden increase in strain rate to 10-3 s-1 causes a noticeable surge in dislocation density as the nucleation rate outweighs the loss rate. This observation indicates that the deformation of submicrometre crystals is strain-rate sensitive.

Title: Correlations between the crystallographic texture and grain boundary character in polycrystalline materials

Authors: R. Edwin García, and Mark D. Vaudin

Source: Acta Materialia, Article in Press, Corrected Proof


A method is presented to determine the misorientation probability distribution function in polycrystalline materials based on a known, analytical or numerical, representation of the associated orientation probability distribution function, i.e., texture. The proposed formulation incorporates the local grain-to-grain orientation correlations by combining local or macroscopic statistical information, and finds a natural interpretation through the well-known stereographic projection (pole-figure) representation. The proposed formulation distinguishes between antiparallel crystallographic orientations, as well as cone-angle and polar angle misorientations. For fiber-textured samples, it is quantitatively shown that highly oriented samples are equivalent to polycrystals with a high density of low-angle misorientations, while completely random (untextured) materials are equivalent to microstructures with a high probability of large-angle misorientations.

It is well known that fluctuations play a crucial role in fluid mixing in turbulent flows, and that continuum models have difficulty in capturing the fluid mixing in such flows. In the latest issue of PNAS, Kadau et al report on their atomistic simulation results of fluid mixing in turbulent systems. In addition, they also use magnetic levitation Rayleigh-Taylor instability experimental results to show that their atomistic results are in better qualitative and quantitative agreement with experiments. Here is the abstract of their paper:

A ubiquitous example of fluid mixing is the Rayleigh–Taylor instability, in which a heavy fluid initially sits atop a light fluid in a gravitational field. The subsequent development of the unstable interface between the two fluids is marked by several stages. At first, each interface mode grows exponentially with time before transitioning to a nonlinear regime characterized by more complex hydrodynamic mixing. Unfortunately, traditional continuum modeling of this process has generally been in poor agreement with experiment. Here, we indicate that the natural, random fluctuations of the flow field present in any fluid, which are neglected in continuum models, can lead to qualitatively and quantitatively better agreement with experiment. We performed billion-particle atomistic simulations and magnetic levitation experiments with unprecedented control of initial interface conditions. A comparison between our simulations and experiments reveals good agreement in terms of the growth rate of the mixing front as well as the new observation of droplet breakup at later times. These results improve our understanding of many fluid processes, including interface phenomena that occur, for example, in supernovae, the detachment of droplets from a faucet, and ink jet printing. Such instabilities are also relevant to the possible energy source of inertial confinement fusion, in which a millimeter-sized capsule is imploded to initiate nuclear fusion reactions between deuterium and tritium. Our results suggest that the applicability of continuum models would be greatly enhanced by explicitly including the effects of random fluctuations.

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