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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.

Institute for Shock Physics’ Lecture Series

On a periodic basis, the Institute invites guest scientists from the DOE/NNSA and DoD Laboratories and other academic institutions to present lectures in the general area of condensed matter at extreme conditions.  All are welcome to attend these lectures held in the ISP Seminar Room, 201, unless otherwise noted.  Please continue to check back for updates to the Institute’s lecture schedule.

  • Tuesday, July 21, 2015:  Dr. Marcus Knudson, Sandia National Laboratories, “Direct Observation of an Abrupt Insulator-to-Metal Transition in Dense Liquid Deuterium“.  To view the seminar announcement, please click here.
  • Thursday, March 24, 2016: Dr. Dana Dattelbaum, Los Alamos National Laboratory, “The Odd Behavior in Ozone UV Photodissociation.”
  • Friday, July 29, 2016: Dr. Ellen Cerreta, Los Alamos National Laboratory, “The Influence of Microstructure on the Dynamic Phase Transformation in Zr and Ti.”
  • Thursday, November 3, 2016:  Dr. Jon Belof, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, “Solidification of Water Under Dynamic Compression: Theory and Modelling.”
  • Thursday, December 8, 2016: Dr. Eric Brown, Los Alamos National Laboratory, “Shock Compression and Strain Rate Effect in Semi-Crystalline Polymers.”

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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).