Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 February 2011
The progress of heterogeneous amorphization of electron-irradiated quartz was studied in situ by high-resolution electron microscopy (HREM). The transformation front appears surprisingly sharp when viewed close to edge-on, but the apparent morphological evolution when aperiodic and periodic material overlap in projection is one in which gradual changes in image regularity are observed. Electron-microscopical contrast obtained in HREM irradiations was interpreted quantitatively, through the use of image contrast simulations. When the amorphized portion occupies less than about two-thirds of the total thickness, the HREM images continue to appear crystalline. Only when the amorphized thickness fraction exceeds about two-thirds does the resultant image contrast show mainly non-crystalline features.
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