Atomic-scale imaging and first-principles modeling are applied to the heterophase interface between the Al-Cu solid solution (αCu) and θ′ (Al2Cu) phases. Contrary to recent studies, our observations reveal a diffuse interface of complex but well-defined structure that enables the progression from αCu to θ′ over a distance of ≈1 nm. We demonstrate that, surprisingly, the observed interfacial structure is not preferred on energetic grounds. Rather, the excess in interfacial energy is compensated by efficient atomic-scale kinetics of the αCu→θ′ phase transformation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)