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  1. Thermal annealing is a widely used strategy to enhance semiconductor device performance. However, the process is complex for multi-material multi-layered semiconductor devices, where thermoelastic stresses from lattice constant and thermal expansion coefficient mismatch may create more defects than those annealed. We propose an alternate low temperature annealing technique, which utilizes the electron wind force (EWF) induced by small duty cycle high density pulsed current. To demonstrate its effectiveness, we intentionally degrade AlGaN/GaN high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) with accelerated OFF-state stressing to increase ON-resistance ∼182.08% and reduce drain saturation current ∼85.82% of pristine condition at a gate voltage of 0 V. We then performed the EWF annealing to recover the corresponding values back to ∼122.21% and ∼93.10%, respectively. The peak transconductance, degraded to ∼76.58% of pristine at the drain voltage of 3 V, was also recovered back to ∼92.38%. This recovery of previously degraded transport properties is attributed to approximately 80% recovery of carrier mobility, which occurs during EWF annealing. We performed synchrotron differential aperture x-ray microscopy measurements to correlate these annealing effects with the lattice structural changes. We found a reduction of lattice plane spacing of (001) planes and stress within the GaN layer under the gate region after EWF annealing, suggesting a corresponding decrease in defect density. Application of this low-temperature annealing technique for in-operando recovery of degraded electronic devices is discussed.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  2. Abstract

    Dynamic solidification behavior during metal additive manufacturing directly influences the as-built microstructure, defects, and mechanical properties of printed parts. How the formation of these features is driven by temperature variation (e.g., thermal gradient magnitude and solidification front velocity) has been studied extensively in metal additive manufacturing, with synchrotron x-ray imaging becoming a critical tool to monitor these processes. Here, we extend these efforts to monitoring full thermomechanical deformation during solidification through the use of operando x-ray diffraction during laser melting. With operando diffraction, we analyze thermomechanical deformation modes such as torsion, bending, fragmentation, assimilation, oscillation, and interdendritic growth. Understanding such phenomena can aid the optimization of printing strategies to obtain specific microstructural features, including localized misorientations, dislocation substructure, and grain boundary character. The interpretation of operando diffraction results is supported by post-mortem electron backscatter diffraction analyses.

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  3. The tunable properties of thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs), through polymer chemistry manipulations, enable these technologically critical materials to be employed in a broad range of applications. The need to “dial-in” the mechanical properties and responses of TPEs generally requires the design and synthesis of new macromolecules. In these designs, TPEs with nonlinear macromolecular architectures outperform the mechanical properties of their linear copolymer counterparts, but the differences in deformation mechanism providing enhanced performance are unknown. Here, in situ small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) measurements during uniaxial extension reveal distinct deformation mechanisms between a commercially available linear poly(styrene)-poly(butadiene)-poly(styrene) (SBS) triblock copolymer and the grafted SBS version containing grafted poly(styrene) (PS) chains from the poly(butadiene) (PBD) mid-block. The neat SBS (φSBS = 100%) sample deforms congruently with the macroscopic dimensions with the domain spacing between spheres increasing and decreasing along and traverse to the stretch direction, respectively. At high extensions, end segment pullout from the PS-rich domains is detected, which is indicated by a disordering of SBS. Conversely, the PS-grafted SBS that is 30 vol% SBS and 70% styrene (φSBS = 30%) exhibits a lamellar morphology and in situ SAXS measurements reveal an unexpected deformation mechanism. During deformation there are two simultaneous processes: significant lamellar domain rearrangement to preferentially orient the lamellae planes parallel to the stretch direction and crazing. The samples whiten at high strains as expected for crazing, which corresponds with the emergence of features in the two-dimensional SAXS pattern during stretching consistent with fibril-like structures that bridge the voids in crazes. The significant domain rearrangement in the grafted copolymers is attributed to the new junctions formed across multiple PS domains by the grafts of a single chain. The in situ SAXS measurements provide insights into the enhanced mechanical properties of grafted copolymers that arise through improved physical crosslinking that leads to nanostructured domain reorientation for self-reinforcement and craze formation where fibrils help to strengthen the polymer. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 20, 2024
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  5. Abstract

    Here we assess the applicability of graph neural networks (GNNs) for predicting the grain-scale elastic response of polycrystalline metallic alloys. Using GNN surrogate models, grain-averaged stresses during uniaxial elastic tension in low solvus high-refractory (LSHR) Ni Superalloy and Ti 7 wt%Al (Ti-7Al) are predicted as example face-centered cubic and hexagonal closed packed alloys, respectively. A transfer learning approach is taken in which GNN surrogate models are trained using crystal elasticity finite element method (CEFEM) simulations and then the trained surrogate models are used to predict the mechanical response of microstructures measured using high-energy X-ray diffraction microscopy (HEDM). The performance of using various microstructural and micromechanical descriptors for input nodal features to the GNNs is explored through comparisons to traditional mean-field theory predictions, reserved full-field CEFEM data, and measured far-field HEDM data. The effects of elastic anisotropy on GNN model performance and outlooks for the extension of the framework are discussed.

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  6. Localized residual stress and elastic strain concentrations in microelectronic devices often affect the electronic performance, resistance to thermomechanical damage, and, likely, radiation tolerance. A primary challenge for the characterization of these concentrations is that they exist over sub-μm length-scales, precluding their characterization by more traditional residual stress measurement techniques. Here, we demonstrate the use of synchrotron x-ray-based differential aperture x-ray microscopy (DAXM) as a viable, non-destructive means to characterize these stress and strain concentrations in a depth-resolved manner. DAXM is used to map two-dimensional strain fields between the source and the drain in a gallium nitride (GaN) layer within high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) with sub-μm spatial resolution. Strain fields at various positions in both pristine and irradiated HEMT specimens are presented in addition to a preliminary stress analysis to estimate the distribution of various stress components within the GaN layer. γ-irradiation is found to significantly reduce the lattice plane spacing in the GaN along the sample normal direction, which is attributed to radiation damage in transistor components bonded to the GaN during irradiation.

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  7. Abstract

    Dwell fatigue, the reduction in fatigue life experienced by titanium alloys due to holds at stresses as low as 60% of yield, has been implicated in several uncontained jet engine failures. Dislocation slip has long been observed to be an intermittent, scale-bridging phenomenon, similar to that seen in earthquakes but at the nanoscale, leading to the speculation that large stress bursts might promote the initial opening of a crack. Here we observe such stress bursts at the scale of individual grains in situ, using high energy X-ray diffraction microscopy in Ti–7Al–O alloys. This shows that the detrimental effect of precipitation of ordered Ti3Al is to increase the magnitude of rare pri〈a〉 and bas〈a〉 slip bursts associated with slip localisation. By contrast, the addition of trace O interstitials is beneficial, reducing the magnitude of slip bursts and promoting a higher frequency of smaller events. This is further evidence that the formation of long paths for easy basal plane slip localisation should be avoided when engineering titanium alloys against dwell fatigue.

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