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Monitoring Faceting on Ceramic Surfaces

  • Shelley R. Gilliss (a1), Arzu Altay (a1), Jessica Reisterer (a1), N. Ravishankar (a1) and C. Barry Carter (a1)...


Faceting is the transformation of a planar surface into two or more surfaces of lower energy. Metal, semiconductor and ceramic surfaces can all undergo faceting. The evolution of facets formed on the m-plane (1010) of alumina has been monitored using atomic-force microscopy (AFM). When heat-treated, the (1010) surface reconstructs into a hill-and-valley morphology. The present study investigates the manner in which facets originally form and grow to cover a surface. A gravity-loaded indenter (load of 25 grams) was used to mark a 25 μm × 25 μm square area on as-received, polished alumina specimens. An initial heat-treatment of 1400°C for 10 minutes is carried out to initiate faceting. With the indents as guides the same area can be identified and imaged after each subsequent heat-treatment. The morphology of the facets can be described as being comprised of a “simple” and “complex” surface. The simple surface corresponds to the (1102) plane which is stable over the course of heat treatments, whereas the complex surface gradually transforms to a lower energy surface after several heat treatments and acts as a nucleation site for new facet growth.



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