Fluctuating crystal structure at constant temperature

In summary, European scientists used synchrotron X-ray microbeams to observe temporal structural fluctuations in a crystalline material composed of iron and aluminum, providing new insights in the field of condensed matter science. This study, published in Science Express, challenges conventional wisdom by showing that certain peaks disappear while others emerge at the same temperature, indicating the presence of fluctuations on an atomic scale. This research was conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research and the ESRF, and the full article is available in the Alchemist Newsletter from Chemweb.com.
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European scientists used synchrotron X-ray microbeams to observe how the microscopic structure of a crystalline material fluctuates in time even when the temperature remains constant. The study shows in microscopic detail how a metal alloy, composed of iron and aluminum, changes when heated. In contrast to conventional wisdom, the researchers discovered that one class of interference peaks associated with the low-temperature structure disappears, while another class of peaks belonging to the new structure emerge at the same temperature. This gives clearcut evidence that temporal structural fluctuations on an atomic scale are present in the crystal and could lead to new insights in the field of condensed matter science.
from the Alchemist Newsletter from Chemweb.com

Full story at Living metals by the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF).

Using Synchrotron X-ray microbeams, a research team from the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart and the ESRF has been able to observe for the first time that the microscopic structure of a crystalline material fluctuates in time. The results were just published in Science Express with the title: Scaling in the Time Domain: Universal Dynamics of Order Fluctuations in Fe3Al.
 
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  • #2
Interesting. I've got to check out the full article. If it has been out on science express on april 21st shouldn't it be on this or next paper issue?
 
  • #3
Good article. Was the phase transition a order-disorder transition of the intermetallic. I'm thinking it is because of how the X-ray instensity peaks change.

Modey3
 

1. What causes a crystal structure to fluctuate at a constant temperature?

Crystal structures can fluctuate at a constant temperature due to several factors such as thermal energy, defects in the crystal lattice, and external stressors. These factors can cause atoms or molecules within the crystal to move and shift, leading to changes in the overall structure.

2. How can the fluctuation of a crystal structure be measured?

The fluctuation of a crystal structure can be measured using techniques such as X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, and atomic force microscopy. These methods allow scientists to visualize and analyze the changes in the crystal structure over time.

3. Can the fluctuation of a crystal structure affect its properties?

Yes, the fluctuation of a crystal structure can affect its properties. For example, changes in the crystal structure can alter the material's mechanical, electrical, and optical properties. This can have important implications in fields such as materials science and engineering.

4. Is it possible to control the fluctuation of a crystal structure?

While some factors that cause crystal structure fluctuations may be uncontrollable, such as thermal energy, researchers can manipulate external stressors and use techniques such as annealing to control and stabilize the crystal structure. This can be useful in optimizing material properties for specific applications.

5. How does the fluctuation of a crystal structure impact its overall stability?

The fluctuation of a crystal structure can affect its overall stability by potentially causing defects or imperfections in the crystal lattice. These defects can weaken the material and make it more susceptible to changes in temperature or external stressors. However, fluctuations can also play an important role in the self-healing and self-organizing properties of some crystals.

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