Atomic-resolution observations of silver segregation in a 111 tilt grain boundary in copper

L Langenohl and T Brink and G Richter and G Dehm and CH Liebscher, PHYSICAL REVIEW B, 107, 134112 (2023).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.107.134112

Alloying a material and hence segregating solutes to grain boundaries is one way to tailor a material to the demands of its application. Direct observation of solute segregation is necessary to understand how the interfacial properties are altered. In this study, we investigate the atomic structure of a high-angle grain boundary both in pure copper and upon silver segregation by aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy and spectroscopy. We further correlate the experiments to atomistic simulations to quantify the local solute excess and its impact on grain boundary properties. We observe that the grain boundary structure remains intact upon silver segregation and up to five different positions within a structural unit serve as segregation sites. By combining the atomic-resolution observation with atomistic modeling, we are able to quantify the local silver concentration and elucidate the underlying segregation mechanism.

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