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Atomistics of pre-nucleation layering of liquid metals at the interface with poor nucleants

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posted on 22.02.2019, 11:26 by H Dong, S Ma, AJ Brown, R Yan, RL Davidchack, PB Howes, C Nicklin, Q Zhai, T Jing
Liquid layering at heterogeneous solid/liquid interfaces is a general phenomenon, which provides structural templates for nucleation of crystalline phases on potent nucleants. However, its efficacy near poor nucleants is incompletely understood. Here we use a combination of X-ray crystal truncation rod analysis and ab initio molecular dynamics to probe the pre-nucleation liquid layering at the sapphire–aluminium solid/liquid interface. At the sapphire side, a ~1.6 aluminium-terminated structure develops, and at the liquid side, two pre-nucleation layers emerge at 950 K. No more pre-nucleation layer forms with decreasing temperature indicating that nucleation of crystalline aluminium through layer-by-layer atomic adsorption of liquid atoms is not favoured. Instead, the appearance of stochastically-formed nuclei near the substrate is supported by our experiments. Nucleation on poor nucleants is dominated by the stochastic nucleation events which are substantially influenced by the pre-nucleation layers that determine the surface structure in contact with the nuclei.

Funding

This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant numbers 51320105003 and 51674153). S.D.M gratefully acknowledges the China Scholarship Council (CSC) for financial support.

History

Citation

COMMUNICATIONS CHEMISTRY, 2019, 2, Article Number: 1

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING/Department of Engineering

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

COMMUNICATIONS CHEMISTRY

Publisher

Nature Research

eissn

2399-3669

Acceptance date

26/11/2018

Copyright date

2019

Available date

22/02/2019

Publisher version

https://www.nature.com/articles/s42004-018-0104-1

Language

en

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