Imaging grain boundary grooves in hard-sphere colloidal bicrystals


Maire, E. ; Redston, E. ; Persson Gulda, M. ; Weitz, D. A. ; Spaepen, F. Imaging grain boundary grooves in hard-sphere colloidal bicrystals. Phys. Rev. E 2016, 94, 042604. Copy at
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Colloidal particles were sedimented onto patterned glass slides to grow three-dimensional bicrystals with a controlled structure. Three types of symmetric tilt grain boundaries between close-packed face-centered-cubic crystals were produced: Σ5(100),Σ17(100), and Σ3(110). The structure of the crystals and their defects were visualized by confocal microscopy, and characterized by simple geometric measurements, including image difference, thresholding, and reprojection. This provided a quick and straightforward way to detect the regions in which the atoms are mobile. This atomic mobility was higher at the grain boundaries and close to the solid-liquid interface. This method was compared to the more conventional analysis based on the calculation of the local order parameter of the individual particles to identify the interface. This was used in turn to identify the presence of grooves at the grain-boundary–liquid triple junction for every type of grain boundary, except for the twin [Σ3(110)], for which no groove could be detected. Images of these grooves were processed, and the angle linking the grain boundary energy to the solid-liquid interfacial energy was measured. The resulting values of the grain boundary energy were compared to estimates based on the density deficit in the boundary.

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