Atom Probe Tomography — At the Frontiers of Materials Science
Jon Hyde, Oxford University and National Nuclear Laboratory
Venue: BAWA Filton
Wednesday October 28, 2009 at 19:30
Materials science relates the properties and performance of a material to the structure of the atoms and phases in that material through characterization. Progress has been driven by enormous developments in microscopy and has helped us understand the root causes for many catastrophic engineering failures such as those of the Liberty ships and the de Havilland Comet.
More recently, there has been a surge of interest in the field of Atom Probe Tomography which enables the structure of many engineering materials to be pulled apart atom-by-atom and reconstructed in 3D (in a computer) with sub-nanometre resolution. Applications include:
- Understanding the root causes of nuclear reactor pressure vessel embrittlement
- Development of new alloys for fusion reactors
- Development of ultra-high strength maraging steels
- Characterizing thin films — for instance materials exhibiting giant magneto resistance for next generation hard disk drives
- The study of catalyst surfaces
The presentation will include an overview of the atom probe technique and some key results. As Sherlock Holmes once said:
'The little things are infinitely the most important.'
|Clustering of copper atoms in a commercial weld alloy|
Nanometre-scale copper-enriched clusters have formed during thermal aging. Each sphere represents a single copper atom.