Report

Observation of the Role of Subcritical Nuclei in Crystallization of a Glassy Solid

Science  13 Nov 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5955, pp. 980-984
DOI: 10.1126/science.1177483

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Via your Institution

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Abstract

Phase transformation generally begins with nucleation, in which a small aggregate of atoms organizes into a different structural symmetry. The thermodynamic driving forces and kinetic rates have been predicted by classical nucleation theory, but observation of nanometer-scale nuclei has not been possible, except on exposed surfaces. We used a statistical technique called fluctuation transmission electron microscopy to detect nuclei embedded in a glassy solid, and we used a laser pump-probe technique to determine the role of these nuclei in crystallization. This study provides a convincing proof of the time- and temperature-dependent development of nuclei, information that will play a critical role in the development of advanced materials for phase-change memories.

  • * Present address: IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598, USA.

View Full Text