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Research Highlight

Unzipping Grain Boundaries with Vibrational Spectroscopy

EELS allows the vibrations of individual GB dislocations to be directly measured. Image selected as back cover design in the published issue.

Scientific Achievement

Monochromated electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) and density functional theory (DFT) were used to provide the first direct measurement and investigation of the vibrational properties of grain boundary (GB) dislocation cores.  

Significance and Impact

Grain boundaries are one of, if not the most, important structural features in materials science. Direct measurements of the vibrational properties of grain boundaries can lead to a more fundamental understanding of their influence on thermal transport and the infrared optical response of a material.

Research Details

  • Conventional EELS and electron microscopy identify the atomic structure and chemical composition
  • High spatial/spectral resolution monochromated EELS identifies the unique phonon response of GB dislocation cores
  • DFT informed by EELS provides a direct look at the individual phonon modes of the dislocation core.

E.R. Hoglund et al., Advanced Materials, 35 2208920 (2023). DOI:10.1002/adma.202208920

Work conducted at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences