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Scanning electron and scanning Auger microscopy studies were performed on in-situ fractured B-doped hypostoichiometric Ni3Al alloys. The Auger measurements on the fracture surface showed a very small amount or the total absence of B. Further, B segregated to the grain boundaries during subsequent exposure to the ambient system ultra-high vacuum environment at room temperature. The B segregation appeared to be driven by a mechanism of electronic nature related to Ni enrichment and O supplied from the environment. Ni-oxidation at room temperature is in accordance with model predictions for small beam sizes (≤10 µm) based on the premise that the electron beam creates additional nucleation sites around of which oxide growth occurs. With increasing the size of the e-beam the oxidation process becomes slower and chemisorption of oxygen plays a significant role. As a result the Ni-oxide depth decreases drastically with increasing spot size and offers an alternative route for monitoring the thickness of NiO in a nanometer range.
Ultra-high-vacuum segregation studies on in-situ fractured Cu-Sb alloys were performed in terms of nanometer scale scanning Auger/Electron microscopy. S contamination leads to the formation of Cu2S precipitates which, upon removal due to fracture, expose pits with morphology that depends on the precipitate size and shape. Local variations of S and Sb distributions inside the pits were correlated to local surface orientations as Atomic Force Microscopy analysis revealed.
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