Twinning in Pb Nanocrystals through Swap Movement Actions



Nanotwinned supplies have been studied extensively over the past decade following the invention of their a lot increased hardness and power than their twin-free counterparts. Regardless of the frequent encounter of twinning in nanocrystals throughout the chemical, mechanical, and thermal processes, their nucleation and propagation mechanisms stay elusive.

Twinning in Pb Nanocrystals via Swap Motion Movements


Examine: Swap movement–directed twinning of nanocrystals. Picture Credit score: Yurchanka Siarhei/

An article printed in Science Advances demonstrated twinning within the lead (Pb) particular person nanocrystals by using in situ atomic decision transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The outcomes revealed that twinning occurred because of the shift of atomic layers relative to at least one one other via a double-layer swap movement. The swap motion-induced twin nucleation was the essential step in twin propagation.

The density purposeful idea (DFT) calculations revealed that the swap movement was the phonon eigenmode of Pb with its face-centered cubic (FCC) crystal construction, which amplified owing to the quantum measurement impact of the nanocrystals based on theoretical simulations.

Twinning of Nanocrystals

Twinning is a basic deformation mode that competes with dislocation slip in crystalline supplies. Underneath excessive pressure, twinning was preferable for dislocation sliding. Deformation twinning has been effectively documented in FCC nanocrystals.

Twinning happens in supplies in response to heating, laser shock, mechanical stress, electron-beam density, and different exterior stimuli. Earlier research have reported that twin-structured nanocrystals exhibit better mechanical power, elevated thermal stability, excessive electrical conductivity, excellent gentle emission, and improved catalytic exercise in comparison with their single counterparts.

Therefore, structural modulation of nanomaterials with most well-liked traits is made potential by understanding the transformation twinning mechanisms in nanocrystals. Conventionally, transformation twinning happens through layer-by-layer partial dislocations within the adjoining atomic planes.

Amongst exterior stimulus-induced twinning, solely mechanical loading-induced twinning is well-documented. Underneath exterior mechanical pressure, uncommon processes akin to synchronous partial dislocation activation, random partial dislocation activation, and a shuffling mechanism are concerned in deformation twinning.

Though the traditional deformation twinning mechanism was hypothesized to hold out transformation twinning of nanocrystals, it lacked concrete help. Furthermore, exterior vitality is required to interrupt the vitality barrier throughout twinning.

Twin creation in nanocrystals can happen by injecting exterior vitality throughout thermal annealing or ion or electron irradiation, suggesting that the transformation twinning of the nanocrystals could show uncommon paths below the affect of kinetics. Technically, it’s difficult to appreciate twinning excitation and atomic imaging concurrently due to the velocity of partial slip or dislocation, which is assumed to happen as quickly because the velocity of sound.


​​​​​​Direct commentary of the structural fluctuation between single-crystal and twinned buildings of a Pb nanocrystal. (A) Reconstructed 3D atomic mannequin of a truncated Pb nanocrystal and a two-dimensional (2D) projection alongside the [011¯] displaying the view zone axis composed of 4 {111} and two {200} planes. (B) Histograms of the variety of Pb layers alongside 〈111〉 and 〈200〉 instructions as obtained from the evaluation of 36 nanocrystals. (C) Sequential pictures extracted from film S3 present the structural fluctuation between the single-crystal (“S”) and twinned buildings (“T”) of a person Pb nanocrystal. TB, twin boundary. Scale bar, 2 nm. (D) Corresponding FFT of nanostructures confirms the single-crystal and twin-crystal structural transformation. (E) Trajectories of structural transitions between single-crystal and nanotwin states throughout the twinning and detwinning course of. (F) The retention time of single-crystal and nanotwin states in film S3. © Zhang, Q et al. (2022).

Analyzing Twinning of Nanocrystals By way of Experimental and Theoretical Research 

Beforehand, researchers confirmed the prevalence of Pb nanocrystals over different supplies due to their low melting level and resistance to oxidation, making them superb candidates for finding out structural modifications with regulated electron beam irradiation. 

On this research, the analysis workforce targeted on transformation twinning in particular person Pb nanocrystals with an FCC crystal construction by using in situ atomic-resolution TEM with millisecond temporal decision. Two refined aberrations corrected TEMs have been geared up with a high-speed Thermo Fisher Scientific Ceta digicam at 40 frames per second and a Gatan K2 IS digicam at 400 frames per second to realize a excessive temporal decision.

In situ imaging revealed electron-beam-induced structural transformations within the Pb nanocrystals. The structural fluctuations between the twinned and single nanocrystals have been tuned by various the depth of the electron beam and the corresponding temperature, demonstrating the influence of electron beam present density on the formation of dual nanocrystals.

Alternatively, subjecting the Pb nanocrystals to an electron beam of the identical present density and at cryogenic temperatures didn’t induce any structural fluctuations, suggesting that transformation twinning was generated by electron beam-induced thermal vibration. 

Earlier experiences have talked about that nanocrystals dissipate further vitality by phonon vibrations, resulting in reversible transformations between twinned and single nanocrystals. Furthermore, the retention time of a single nanocrystal is increased than that of its twinned counterpart. Therefore, the single-crystal construction lasts longer.

As well as, the transformation dynamics of Pb nanocrystals have been theoretically studied utilizing DFT-based phonon calculations, which indicated that the enhancement within the swap mode of the nanocrystals was because of the lower within the nanocrystal measurement.

The swap phonon has the bottom vitality of all short-wave phonons, making the swap mode the most certainly movement mode to happen. In consequence, damping could trigger a swap mannequin phonon to turn out to be a twin. Lastly, the experimental findings have been noticed to be in concurrence with the DFT calculations.


In conclusion, this analysis demonstrated that the swap movement of two neighboring atomic layers shifting relating to each other induced the transformation twinning of Pb nanocrystals. Twin nucleation and twin propagation within the nanocrystals have been attributable to swap movement. The discoveries of the current research on beforehand unknown twinning mechanisms provided a brand new potential for designing and manufacturing nanoscale supplies.


Zhang, Q et al. (2022). Swap movement–directed twinning of nanocrystals. Science Advances

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