Dislocation defects together with their associated strain fields and segregated impurities are of considerable significance in many areas of materials science. However, their atomic-scale structures have remained extremely challenging to resolve, limiting our understanding of these ubiquitous defects. Here, by developing a complex modelling approach in combination with bicrystal experiments and systematic atomic-resolution imaging, we are now able to pinpoint individual dislocation cores at the atomic scale, leading to the discovery that even simple magnesium oxide can exhibit polymorphism of core structures for a given dislocation species. These polymorphic cores are associated with local variations in strain fields, segregation of defects, and electronic states, adding a new dimension to understanding the properties of dislocations in real materials. The findings advance our fundamental understanding of basic behaviours of dislocations and demonstrate that quantitative prediction and characterization of dislocations in real materials is possible.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)