A study of the structural perfection of icosahedral quasicrystalline grains of various alloys (Al–Pd–Mn, Zn–Mg–RE (RE≡rare earth) and Al–Cu–Fe), grown by different slow solidification techniques (Czochralski, Bridgman, flux and annealing) was performed using high-resolution diffraction, including recording rocking curves combined with X-ray topography and phase contrast radiography, at a third-generation synchrotron radiation source (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, Grenoble, France). For Al–Pd–Mn, additional coherent diffraction and diffuse scattering measurements were also carried out. After evaluating the potentialities of the techniques used, in the light of the criteria defined for crystals, it is shown that the structural perfection of icosahedral quasicrystals is quite comparable with that of metallic crystals but is considerably influenced by either uniform phason strains which can destroy the quasiperiodic long-range order, or by long-wavelength phason fluctuations leading to diffuse scattering. The structural perfection was also found to be extremely variable across the as-grown quasicrystalline grains and to be dependent on the presence and characteristics of inhomogeneities (pores and precipitates) often included in the quasicrystalline matrix. Regarding the grains that we used, it has been impossible to distinguish a clear influence of either the type of alloy or the growth method. It has, however, been noticed that Al–Pd–Mn and Al–Cu–Fe grains appeared less defective than Zn–Mg–RE grains and that the microstructure of these latter grains looks like that of crystals grown by the same technique. Annealing and mechanical polishing effects have also been analysed in the case of Al–Pd–Mn grains. It appeared that annealing improves the quasicrystalline lattice perfection by lowering phason strains insofar as no precipitates are nucleated. Mechanical polishing can introduce defects, located at the external surfaces, having the shape of bands.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics