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Washington State University Institute for Shock Physics

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Recrystallization of shock-melted Si observed in real-time

By Kendra Redmond; October 29, 2018

Washington State University researchers have directly observed shock-induced melting and recrystallization of silicon on nanosecond timescales. As they report in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters, the researchers observed the melting through in situ, time-resolved x-ray diffraction (XRD) measurements at pressures above 30 GPa. This work adds new constraints to the high-temperature, high-pressure phase diagram of silicon and suggests that the technique could similarly reveal structural changes in other materials under shock-wave compression.

“Melting and freezing are two of the most ubiquitous materials phenomena,” says Yogendra Gupta, senior researcher on the project. “Typically, these phenomena are viewed as slow—because our familiarity with these phenomena is mostly based on observations at long time scales. Hence, some questions that have been around for a long time are: How fast can these phenomena occur? And what is the nature of the material state?” These are fundamental questions, Gupta says, but the answers also have applications in ballistics, debris-spacecraft collisions, and planetary formation, among other areas.

To read the entire Materials Research Society story, please click here.

To read the abstract in Physical Review Letters, please click here.

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Representative x-ray diffraction patterns recorded from shocked Si (100) (a) before and (b) after melting. The times listed in (a) and (b) are relative to impact. Credit: Physical Review Letters 121(13): 135701 (2018).

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