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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  2. tbc 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 23, 2024
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  7. Refractory multi-principal element alloys exhibiting promising mechanical properties such as excellent strength retention at elevated temperatures have been attracting increasing attention. Although their inherent chemical complexity is considered a defining feature, a challenge arises in predicting local chemical ordering, particularly in grain boundary regions with an enhanced structural disorder. In this study, we use atomistic simulations of a large group of bicrystal models to sample a wide variety of interfacial sites (grain boundary) in NbMoTaW and explore emergent trends in interfacial segregation and the underlying structural and chemical driving factors. Sampling hundreds of bicrystals along the [001] symmetric tilt axis and analyzing more than one hundred and thirty thousand grain boundary sites with a variety of local atomic environments, we uncover segregation trends in NbMoTaW. While Nb is the dominant segregant, more notable are the segregation patterns that deviate from expected behavior and mark situations where local structural and chemical driving forces lead to interesting segregation events. For example, incomplete depletion of Ta in low-angle boundaries results from chemical pinning due to favorable local compositional environments associated with chemical short-range ordering. Finally, machine learning models capturing and comparing the structural and chemical features of interfacial sites are developed to weigh their relative importance and contributions to segregation tendency, revealing a significant increase in predictive capability when including local chemical information. Overall, this work, highlighting the complex interplay between the local grain boundary structure and chemical short-range ordering, suggests tunable segregation and chemical ordering by tailoring grain boundary structure in multi-principal element alloys. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 21, 2023
  8. Interfacial segregation and chemical short-range ordering influence the behavior of grain boundaries in complex concentrated alloys. In this study, we use atomistic modeling of a NbMoTaW refractory complex concentrated alloy to provide insight into the interplay between these two phenomena. Hybrid Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics simulations are performed on columnar grain models to identify equilibrium grain boundary structures. Our results reveal extended near-boundary segregation zones that are much larger than traditional segregation regions, which also exhibit chemical patterning that bridges the interfacial and grain interior regions. Furthermore, structural transitions pertaining to an A2-to-B2 transformation are observed within these extended segregation zones. Both grain size and temperature are found to significantly alter the widths of these regions. An analysis of chemical short-range order indicates that not all pairwise elemental interactions are affected by the presence of a grain boundary equally, as only a subset of elemental clustering types are more likely to reside near certain boundaries. The results emphasize the increased chemical complexity that is associated with near-boundary segregation zones and demonstrate the unique nature of interfacial segregation in complex concentrated alloys. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 21, 2023
  9. Abstract

    Oxide solid electrolytes (OSEs) have the potential to achieve improved safety and energy density for lithium-ion batteries, but their high grain-boundary (GB) resistance generally is a bottleneck. In the well-studied perovskite oxide solid electrolyte, Li3xLa2/3-xTiO3(LLTO), the ionic conductivity of grain boundaries is about three orders of magnitude lower than that of the bulk. In contrast, the related Li0.375Sr0.4375Ta0.75Zr0.25O3(LSTZ0.75) perovskite exhibits low grain boundary resistance for reasons yet unknown. Here, we use aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy and spectroscopy, along with an active learning moment tensor potential, to reveal the atomic scale structure and composition of LSTZ0.75 grain boundaries. Vibrational electron energy loss spectroscopy is applied for the first time to reveal atomically resolved vibrations at grain boundaries of LSTZ0.75 and to characterize the otherwise unmeasurable Li distribution therein. We find that Li depletion, which is a major reason for the low grain boundary ionic conductivity of LLTO, is absent for the grain boundaries of LSTZ0.75. Instead, the low grain boundary resistivity of LSTZ0.75 is attributed to the formation of a nanoscale defective cubic perovskite interfacial structure that contained abundant vacancies. Our study provides new insights into the atomic scale mechanisms of low grain boundary resistivity.

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