In situ atomic-scale observation of dislocation climb and grain boundary evolution in nanostructured metal

SF Chu and P Liu and Y Zhang and XD Wang and SX Song and T Zhu and Z Zhang and XD Han and BD Sun and MW Chen, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 13, 4151 (2022).

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-31800-8

Non-conservative dislocation climb plays a unique role in the plastic deformation and creep of crystalline materials. Nevertheless, the underlying atomic-scale mechanisms of dislocation climb have not been explored by direct experimental observations. Here, we report atomic- scale observations of grain boundary (GB) dislocation climb in nanostructured Au during in situ straining at room temperature. The climb of a edge dislocation is found to occur by stress-induced reconstruction of two neighboring atomic columns at the edge of an extra half atomic plane in the dislocation core. This is different from the conventional belief of dislocation climb by destruction or construction of a single atomic column at the dislocation core. The atomic route of the dislocation climb we proposed is demonstrated to be energetically favorable by Monte Carlo simulations. Our in situ observations also reveal GB evolution through dislocation climb at room temperature, which suggests a means of controlling microstructures and properties of nanostructured metals. Dislocation climb is crucial to plasticity and creep of materials. Here, the authors report real-time atomic-scale observations of grain boundary dislocation climb in nanostructured Au at room temperature. The dislocation climb occurs by reconstruction of two atomic columns in the dislocation core.

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