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Electron correlation microscopy (ECM) is a new technique that utilizes time-resolved coherent electron nanodiffraction to study dynamic atomic rearrangements in materials. It is the electron scattering equivalent of photon correlation spectroscopy with the added advantage of nanometer-scale spatial resolution. We have applied ECM to a Pd40Ni40P20 metallic glass, heated inside a scanning transmission electron microscope into a supercooled liquid to measure the structural relaxation time τ between the glass transition temperature Tg and the crystallization temperature, Tx. τ determined from the mean diffraction intensity autocorrelation function g2(t) decreases with temperature following an Arrhenius relationship between Tg and Tg+25 K, and then increases as temperature approaches Tx. The distribution of τ determined from the g2(t) of single speckles is broad and changes significantly with temperature.
Thin film coatings of Al-based quasicrystals were deposited by magnetron sputtering. Sputtering targets of Al65Cu23Fe12 and Al65Cu23Fe12+5v/o Fe-Al were prepared with plasma arc spraying by forming thick (∼5mm) coatings onto Cu substrates. By incorporating a controlled fraction of porosity and micro-cracks within the plasma sprayed target, cracking or delamination of the target during magnetron sputtering could be avoided. Compositions of the as-deposited PVD films were close to the sputtering target composition when the bias voltage was kept around –40V; higher bias voltages (e.g., -100 to -200V) lead to coatings that were deficient in Al. As-deposited coatings prepared with the lower bias voltage could be subsequently annealed at 700°C for two hours to yield a nearly single-phase icosahedral structure. After annealing, composite coatings indicate the presence of an Fe-Al phase along with the icosahedral phase.
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