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Phase transition in the 1/1 approximant to the Tsai type quasicrystal : atomic structure , diffuse scattering and atomic scale simulation

Abstract : We have studied the structural phase transitions occurring in a series of periodic 1/1 approximant to the CdYb type quasicrystals. 1/1 approximants share the same local environment as the parent quasicrystal, yet with a periodic long range order. The Cd6Tb 1/1 approximant is of particular interest owing to its long range magnetic order observed below 20K. A structural phase transition is observed at Tc= 192K. The atomic structures of the high temperature cubic phase and the low temperature monoclinic phase has been determined. The temperature dependence of the central tetrahedron ordering and its connection to the phase transition has been studied in details between 192 and 180K. The distortion of the Tb12 icosahedron resulting from the ordering of the tetrahedron at low temperature is supposed to play a crucial role in the formation of the long range magnetic order. Diffuse scattering, characteristic of a short range order has also been observed above Tc. For the Cd6Yb approximant we have confirmed that the phase transition does not correspond to an ordering along [11 ̅0]. The space group of the low temperature phase is proposed as P2/m. Furthermore, the effects of chemical order on the ordering mechanism of the tetrahedra are investigated on Cd6Pr and (Cd-Mg)6Pr with 10% at. Mg. The ordering scheme of both Cd6Pr and (Cd-Mg)6Pr is of the [110] type instead of the previously claimed [111] type. Molecular dynamic simulations are carried out on the Zn6Sc 1/1, Zn85.12Sc14.88 5/3, and Zn85.16Sc14.84 8/5 approximants using an effective oscillating pair potential. The Zn-Sc system is isostructural to the Cd-Yb one and the 5/3 and 8/5 approximant have a unit cell large enough to mimic a real quasicrystal. In the three systems we have simulated the diffraction pattern as the temperature goes from 500K to 100K. In the Zn6Sc 1/1 approximant, the temperature dependence of the simulated diffuse scattering evidenced a short range order forming in the low temperature phase. It most likely correspond to the pretransitional short range order as observed experimentally. The comparison of the simulated diffuse scattering between the 1/1 and 5/3 approximants demonstrates an excess of diffuse scattering in the latter phase which is likely the contribution from phasons modes. We have evidenced an atomic diffusion taking place between tetrahedra and dodecahedra in all three approximants. The long range atomic diffusion in the 1/1 approximant is only observed along space diagonal directions of the cubic cell, with an activation energy of 0.1 eV. Further investigation on the 5/3 and 8/5 approximants have shown that the orientational dynamics of the central tetrahedra as well as the atomic diffusion are dependent on the complexity of the structures. The configuration of the clusters and their local environment are considered to play a crucial role in the stabilization mechanism of the quasicrystals and their periodic approximants.
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Submitted on : Friday, June 26, 2015 - 12:28:06 PM
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Dan Liu. Phase transition in the 1/1 approximant to the Tsai type quasicrystal : atomic structure , diffuse scattering and atomic scale simulation. Materials Science [cond-mat.mtrl-sci]. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015GREAY001⟩. ⟨tel-01168659⟩

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