Order in nanometer thick intergranular films at Au-sapphire interfaces

Mor Baram, Stephen H. Garofalini, Wayne D. Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years extensive studies on interfaces have shown that ∼1 nm thick intergranular films (IGF) exist at interfaces in different material systems, and that IGF can significantly affect the materials' properties. However, there is great deal of uncertainty whether such films are amorphous or partially ordered. In this study specimens were prepared from Au particles that were equilibrated on sapphire substrates in the presence of anorthite glass, leading to the formation of 1.2 nm thick IGF at the Au-sapphire interfaces. Site-specific cross-section samples were characterized using quantitative high resolution transmission electron microscopy to study the atomistic structure of the films. Order was observed in the 1.2 nm thick films adjacent to the sapphire crystal in the form of "Ca cages", experimentally demonstrating that ordering is an intrinsic part of IGF, as predicted from molecular dynamics and diffuse interface theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5710-5715
Number of pages6
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • Alumina
  • Atomic ordering
  • High resolution electron microscopy
  • Interfaces
  • Intergranular films

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys

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