Revealing in-plane grain boundary composition features through machine learning from atom probe tomography data

Zhou, X. and Wei, Y. and Kühbach, M. and Zhao, H. and Vogel, F. and Darvishi Kamachali, R. and Thompson, G.B. and Raabe, D. and Gault, B.

Volume: 226 Pages:
DOI: 10.1016/j.actamat.2022.117633
Published: 2022

Grain boundaries (GBs) are planar lattice defects that govern the properties of many types of polycrystalline materials. Hence, their structures have been investigated in great detail. However, much less is known about their chemical features, owing to the experimental difficulties to probe these features at the atomic length scale inside bulk material specimens. Atom probe tomography (APT) is a tool capable of accomplishing this task, with an ability to quantify chemical characteristics at near-atomic scale. Using APT data sets, we present here a machine-learning-based approach for the automated quantification of chemical features of GBs. We trained a convolutional neural network (CNN) using twenty thousand synthesized images of grain interiors, GBs, or triple junctions. Such a trained CNN automatically detects the locations of GBs from APT data. Those GBs are then subjected to compositional mapping and analysis, including revealing their in-plane chemical decoration patterns. We applied this approach to experimentally obtained APT data sets pertaining to three case studies, namely, Ni-P, Pt-Au, and Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloys. In the first case, we extracted GB specific segregation features as a function of misorientation and coincidence site lattice character. Secondly, we revealed interfacial excesses and in-plane chemical features that could not have been found by standard compositional analyses. Lastly, we tracked the temporal evolution of chemical decoration from early-stage solute GB segregation in the dilute limit to interfacial phase separation, characterized by the evolution of complex composition patterns. This machine-learning-based approach provides quantitative, unbiased, and automated access to GB chemical analyses, serving as an enabling tool for new discoveries related to interface thermodynamics, kinetics, and the associated chemistry-structure-property relations. © 2022 The Authors

« back