Displacive radiation-induced structural contraction in nanocrystalline ZrN

Fengyuan Lu, Mengbing Huang, Faisal Yaqoob, Maik Lang, Fereydoon Namavar, Christina Trautmann, Hongtao Sun, Rodney C. Ewing, Jie Lian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Nanocrystalline ZrN thin films with 5 nm grain size, prepared by ion beam assisted deposition, maintained their isometric structure upon intensive displacive and ionizing irradiations, indicating an extremely high stability similar to bulk ZrN. However, a unique structural contraction up to 1.42 in lattice parameter occurred only in nano-sized ZrN upon displacive irradiations. A significant nitrogen loss occurred with reduced N:Zr atomic ratio to 0.88, probably due to the production of displaced nitrogen atoms and fast diffusion along grain boundaries in nanocrystalline ZrN matrix. The accumulation of nitrogen vacancies and related strain relaxation may be responsible for the structural contraction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041904
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 23 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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