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The exotic internal structure of polar topologies in multiferroic materials offers a rich landscape for materials science research. As the spatial scale of these entities is often subatomic in nature, aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is the ideal characterization technique. Software to quantify and visualize the slight shifts in atomic placement within unit cells is of paramount importance due to the now routine acquisition of images at such resolution. In the previous ~decade since the commercialization of aberration-corrected TEM, many research groups have written their own code to visualize these polar entities. More recently, open-access Python packages have been developed for the purpose of TEM atomic position quantification. Building on these packages, we introduce the TEMUL Toolkit: a Python package for analysis and visualization of atomic resolution images. Here, we focus specifically on the TopoTEM module of the toolkit where we show an easy to follow, streamlined version of calculating the atomic displacements relative to the surrounding lattice and thus plotting polarization. We hope this toolkit will benefit the rapidly expanding field of topology-based nano-electronic and quantum materials research, and we invite the electron microscopy community to contribute to this open-access project.
We assess the validity of criteria based on size mismatch and thermodynamics in predicting the stability of the rare class of high-entropy alloys (HEAs) that form in the hexagonal close-packed crystal structure. We focus on nanocrystalline HEA particles composed predominantly of Mo, Tc, Ru, Rh, and Pd along with Ag, Cd, and Te, which are produced in uranium dioxide fuel under the extreme conditions of nuclear reactor operation. The constituent elements are fission products that aggregate under the combined effects of irradiation and elevated temperature as high as 1200 °C. We present the recent results on alloy nanoparticle formation in irradiated ceria, which was selected as a surrogate for uranium dioxide, to show that radiation-enhanced diffusion plays an important role in the process. This work sheds light on the initial stages of alloy nanoparticle formation from a uniform dispersion of individual metals. The remarkable chemical durability of such multiple principal element alloys presents a solution, namely, an alloy waste form, to the challenge of immobilizing Tc.