Determination of crystal growth rates during rapid solidification of polycrystalline aluminum by nano-scale spatio-temporal resolution in situ transmission electron microscopy
In situ investigations of rapid solidification in polycrystalline Al thin films were conducted using nano-scale spatio-temporal resolution dynamic transmission electron microscopy. Differences in crystal growth rates and asymmetries in melt pool development were observed as the heat extraction geometry was varied by controlling the proximity of the laser-pulse irradiation and the associated induced melt pools to the edge of the transmission electron microscopy support grid, which acts as a large heat sink. Experimental parameters have been established to maximize the reproducibility of the material response to the laser-pulse-related heating and to ensure that observations of the dynamical behavior of the metal are free from artifacts, leading to accurate interpretations and quantifiable measurements with improved precision. Interface migration rate measurements revealed solidification velocities that increased consistently from similar to 1.3 m s(-1) to similar to 2.5 m s(-1) during the rapid solidification process of the Al thin films. Under the influence of an additional large heat sink, increased crystal growth rates as high as 3.3 m s(-1) have been measured. The in situ experiments also provided evidence for development of a partially melted, two-phase region prior to the onset of rapid solidification facilitated crystal growth. Using the experimental observations and associated measurements as benchmarks, finite-element modeling based calculations of the melt pool evolution after pulsed laser irradiation have been performed to obtain estimates of the temperature evolution in the thin films. Published by AIP Publishing.