• In-situ nanospectroscopic imaging of plasmon-induced two-dimensional [4+4]-cycloaddition polymerization on Au(111)

      Shao, Feng; orcid: 0000-0003-3879-5884; email: feng.shao@manchester.ac.uk; Wang, Wei; Yang, Weimin; Yang, Zhilin; Zhang, Yao; orcid: 0000-0002-6524-0289; Lan, Jinggang; email: jinggang.lan@chem.uzh.ch; Dieter Schlüter, A.; Zenobi, Renato; orcid: 0000-0001-5211-4358; email: zenobi@org.chem.ethz.ch (Nature Publishing Group UK, 2021-07-27)
      Abstract: Plasmon-induced chemical reactions (PICRs) have recently become promising approaches for highly efficient light-chemical energy conversion. However, an in-depth understanding of their mechanisms at the nanoscale still remains challenging. Here, we present an in-situ investigation by tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS) imaging of the plasmon-induced [4+4]-cycloaddition polymerization within anthracene-based monomer monolayers physisorbed on Au(111), and complement the experimental results with density functional theory (DFT) calculations. This two-dimensional (2D) polymerization can be flexibly triggered and manipulated by the hot carriers, and be monitored simultaneously by TERS in real time and space. TERS imaging provides direct evidence for covalent bond formation with ca. 3.7 nm spatial resolution under ambient conditions. Combined with DFT calculations, the TERS results demonstrate that the lateral polymerization on Au(111) occurs by a hot electron tunneling mechanism, and crosslinks form via a self-stimulating growth mechanism. We show that TERS is promising to be plasmon-induced nanolithography for organic 2D materials.
    • Mineral reaction kinetics constrain the length scale of rock matrix diffusion

      Wogelius, R. A.; orcid: 0000-0002-5781-2152; email: roy.wogelius@manchester.ac.uk; Milodowski, A. E.; Field, L. P.; orcid: 0000-0002-8747-9901; Metcalfe, R.; Lowe, T.; van Veelen, A.; orcid: 0000-0002-8176-3645; Carpenter, G.; Norris, S.; Yardley, B. (Nature Publishing Group UK, 2020-05-18)
      Abstract: Mass transport by aqueous fluids is a dynamic process in shallow crustal systems, redistributing nutrients as well as contaminants. Rock matrix diffusion into fractures (void space) within crystalline rock has been postulated to play an important role in the transient storage of solutes. The reacted volume of host rock involved, however, will be controlled by fluid-rock reactions. Here we present the results of a study which focusses on defining the length scale over which rock matrix diffusion operates within crystalline rock over timescales that are relevant to safety assessment of radioactive and other long-lived wastes. Through detailed chemical and structural analysis of natural specimens sampled at depth from an active system (Toki Granite, Japan), we show that, contrary to commonly proposed models, the length scale of rock matrix diffusion may be extremely small, on the order of centimetres, even over timescales of millions of years. This implies that in many cases the importance of rock matrix diffusion will be minimal. Additional analyses of a contrasting crystalline rock system (Carnmenellis Granite, UK) corroborate these results.
    • Strain localisation and failure at twin-boundary complexions in nickel-based superalloys

      Zhang, Zhenbo; orcid: 0000-0003-4295-4796; email: zhangzhb1@shanghaitech.edu.cn; Yang, Zhibiao; Lu, Song; Harte, Allan; Morana, Roberto; orcid: 0000-0002-6125-7497; Preuss, Michael; orcid: 0000-0003-3806-0415; email: michael.preuss@manchester.ac.uk (Nature Publishing Group UK, 2020-09-29)
      Abstract: Twin boundaries (TBs) in Ni-based superalloys are vulnerable sites for failure in demanding environments, and a current lack of mechanistic understanding hampers the reliable lifetime prediction and performance optimisation of these alloys. Here we report the discovery of an unexpected γ″ precipitation mechanism at TBs that takes the responsibility for alloy failure in demanding environments. Using multiscale microstructural and mechanical characterisations (from millimetre down to atomic level) and DFT calculations, we demonstrate that abnormal γ″ precipitation along TBs accounts for the premature dislocation activities and pronounced strain localisation associated with TBs during mechanical loading, which serves as a precursor for crack initiation. We clarify the physical origin of the TBs-related cracking at the atomic level of γ″-strengthened Ni-based superalloys in a hydrogen containing environment, and provide practical methods to mitigate the adverse effect of TBs on the performance of these alloys.