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  1. SUMMARY

    The seismic anisotropy of the Earth's solid inner core has been the topic of much research. It could be explained by the crystallographic preferred orientation (CPO) developing during convection. The likely phase is hexagonal close-packed iron (hcp), alloyed with nickel and some lighter elements. Here we use high energy synchrotron X-rays to study CPO in Fe-9wt%Si, uniaxially compressed in a diamond anvil cell in radial geometry. The experiments reveal that strong preferred orientation forms in the low-pressure body-centred cubic (bcc) phase that appears to be softer than pure iron. CPO is attributed to dominant {110}<111> slip. The onset of the bcc→hcp transition occurs at a pressure of ≈15 GPa, and the alloy remains in a two phase bcc + hcp state up to 40 GPa. The hcp phase forms first with a distinct {11$\bar{2}$0} maximum perpendicular to compression. Modelling shows that this is a transformation texture, which can be described by Burgers orientation relationship with variant selection. Experimental results suggest that bcc grains oriented with <100> parallel to compression transform into hcp first. The CPO of the hcp changes only slowly during further pressure and deviatoric stress increase at ambient temperature. After heating to 1600 K, a change in the hcp CPO is observed with alignment of (0001) planes perpendicular to compression that can be interpreted as dominant (0001)<11$\bar{2}$0> slip, combined with {10$\bar{1}$2}<$\bar{1}$011> mechanical twinning, which is similar to the deformation modes suggested previously for pure hcp iron at inner core conditions.

     
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  2. Previously, synchrotron X-ray Laue microdiffraction has been used to measure the magnitudes of residual strain in materials. Recently the method was advanced to determine the orientation of the strain ellipsoid and applied to naturally deformed quartzites; however, the deformation history of these quartzites is ambiguous due to their natural origin. In this study, synchrotron X-ray Laue microdiffraction (µXRD) is used to measure the residual strain for the first time in a sample with known stress history, rolled titanium. A deviatoric strain tensor is calculated from each Laue diffraction image collected with two µXRD scans of a rolled titanium sheet in different sample orientations. The principal strain axes are calculated using an eigen decomposition of the deviatoric strain tensors. The results show that the principal axis of compression is aligned with the normal direction of the titanium sheet, and the principal axis of extension is aligned with the rolling direction. Pole figures are used to represent the 3D distribution of residual strain axes. 
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  3. Understanding spatial distribution of phases as well as dynamics across phase transformations in the lower mantle are crucial understanding the evolution of the Earth’s interior. Studies at high pressures and temperatures have previously relied on powder diffraction or single crystal methods which have limitations in spatial resolution during dynamic processes. Here we apply the novel multigrain crystallography technique at high pressure and temperature in a laser heated diamond anvil cell (LH-DAC) to study the formation of the Earth’s most abundant mineral bridgmanite MgSiO3 from a natural olivine sample. We constrain the twinning relationship in the bridgmanite phase at high pressure with grain-size resolution as well as evidence for an interconnected network formed by the weaker ferropericlase phase which could contribute to slab stagnation and plume deflection 
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