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Material Misfits

How well nanocomposite materials align at their interfaces determines what properties they have, opening broad new avenues of materials-science discovery.
May 24, 2015
Material Misfits

Interface interactions in novel materials determine what physical properties the materials have.

The nice thing about nanocomposites is that, because their grains are so small, there are a lot of interfaces. The defects localized at these interfaces can do lots of interesting things, like absorb radiation or act as fast ion conductors in batteries and fuel cells.

Misfit dislocations, or misfits, form to relieve the strain that arises when the materials on each side of an interface are mismatched in size. The greater the mismatch the higher the misfit dislocation density. Because misfits are frequently the sites of atomic interactions that determine a material’s functionality, the density and pattern of misfits at the material interface are of utmost import when looking at what a new material can do.