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1.  Deformation-induced grain growth and twinning in nanocrystalline palladium thin films 
The microstructure and mechanical properties of nanocrystalline Pd films prepared by magnetron sputtering have been investigated as a function of strain. The films were deposited onto polyimide substrates and tested in tensile mode. In order to follow the deformation processes in the material, several samples were strained to defined straining states, up to a maximum engineering strain of 10%, and prepared for post-mortem analysis. The nanocrystalline structure was investigated by quantitative automated crystal orientation mapping (ACOM) in a transmission electron microscope (TEM), identifying grain growth and twinning/detwinning resulting from dislocation activity as two of the mechanisms contributing to the macroscopic deformation. Depending on the initial twin density, the samples behaved differently. For low initial twin densities, an increasing twin density was found during straining. On the other hand, starting from a higher twin density, the twins were depleted with increasing strain. The findings from ACOM-TEM were confirmed by results from molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and from conventional and in-situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction (CXRD, SXRD) experiments.
PMCID: PMC3817795  PMID: 24205451
ACOM-TEM; deformation mechanism; nanostructured metals; tensile testing; XRD
2.  Plasticity of nanocrystalline alloys with chemical order: on the strength and ductility of nanocrystalline Ni–Fe 
Plastic deformation and alloying of nanocrystalline Ni–Fe is studied by means of atomic scale computer simulations. By using a combination of Monte-Carlo and molecular dynamics methods we find that solutes have an ordering tendency even if grain sizes are in the nanometer regime, where the phase field of the ordered state is widened as compared to larger grain sizes. Tensile testing of disordered structures with various elemental distributions and the simultaneous analysis of intragranular defects reveal that solid solution strengthening is absent for the studied grain sizes. The composition and relaxation state of the grain boundary control the strength of the material, which is also found for ordered structures (L12), where dislocation activity is suppressed.
PMCID: PMC3817796  PMID: 24205450
nanocrystalline materials; grain boundary structure; grain boundary segregation; plastic deformation; molecular dynamics
3.  Plasticity of Cu nanoparticles: Dislocation-dendrite-induced strain hardening and a limit for displacive plasticity 
The plastic behaviour of individual Cu crystallites under nanoextrusion is studied by molecular dynamics simulations. Single-crystal Cu fcc nanoparticles are embedded in a spherical force field mimicking the effect of a contracting carbon shell, inducing pressure on the system in the range of gigapascals. The material is extruded from a hole of 1.1–1.6 nm radius under athermal conditions. Simultaneous nucleation of partial dislocations at the extrusion orifice leads to the formation of dislocation dendrites in the particle causing strain hardening and high flow stress of the material. As the extrusion orifice radius is reduced below 1.3 Å we observe a transition from displacive plasticity to solid-state amorphisation.
PMCID: PMC3628289  PMID: 23616936
dislocation interactions; mechanical properties; molecular dynamics; nanoparticle; simulation
4.  Size-dependent phase diagrams of metallic alloys: A Monte Carlo simulation study on order–disorder transitions in Pt–Rh nanoparticles 
Nanoparticles of Pt–Rh were studied by means of lattice-based Monte Carlo simulations with respect to the stability of ordered D022- and 40-phases as a function of particle size and composition. By thermodynamic integration in the semi-grand canonical ensemble, phase diagrams for particles with a diameter of 7.8 nm, 4.3 nm and 3.1 nm were obtained. Size-dependent trends such as the lowering of the critical ordering temperature, the broadening of the compositional stability range of the ordered phases, and the narrowing of the two-phase regions were observed and discussed in the context of complete size-dependent nanoparticle phase diagrams. In addition, an ordered surface phase emerges at low temperatures and low platinum concentration. A decrease of platinum surface segregation with increasing global platinum concentration was observed, when a second, ordered phase is formed inside the core of the particle. The order–disorder transitions were analyzed in terms of the Warren–Cowley short-range order parameters. Concentration-averaged short-range order parameters were used to remove the surface segregation bias of the conventional short-range order parameters. Using this procedure, it was shown that the short-range order in the particles at high temperatures is bulk-like.
PMCID: PMC3304325  PMID: 22428091
Monte Carlo simulation; nanoparticles; nanothermodynamics; phase diagram; Pt-Rh; thermodynamics
5.  Kinetic lattice Monte-Carlo simulations on the ordering kinetics of free and supported FePt L10-nanoparticles 
The ordering kinetics in free and supported L10 nanoparticles was studied by means of lattice-based kinetic Monte-Carlo simulations. Starting from a fully disordered particle of Wulff shape, the simulations show that the nucleation of ordered domains is starting quickly on various (100) facets but is retarded in the particle volume due to the lack of vacancies compared with a thin film geometry. If a substrate is present, we do not find significant differences in the ordering behavior. This holds true, even if we impose a massively increased thermodynamic driving force for interface segregation, because the nucleation of ordered domains on free facets is significantly faster than the bulk diffusion of the segregating species to the interface. In cases where wetting of the substrate or surface facetting occurs, we find that diffusional atomic motion on the surface goes along with an enhanced long-range order.
PMCID: PMC3045943  PMID: 21977414
FePt; Monte-Carlo simulations; nanoparticles; ordering kinetics

Results 1-5 (5)