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Interface Structure and Atomic Bonding Characteristics in Silicon Nitride Ceramics

Science  03 Dec 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5702, pp. 1768-1770
DOI: 10.1126/science.1104173

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Abstract

Direct atomic resolution images have been obtained that illustrate how a range of rare-earth atoms bond to the interface between the intergranular phase and the matrix grains in an advanced silicon nitride ceramic. It has been found that each rare-earth atom bonds to the interface at a different location, depending on atom size, electronic configuration, and the presence of oxygen at the interface. This is the key factor to understanding the origin of the mechanical properties in these ceramics and will enable precise tailoring in the future to critically improve the materials' performance in wide-ranging applications.

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