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Application of Powder Diffraction Methods to the Analysis of the Atomic Structure of Nanocrystals: The Concept of the Apparent Lattice Parameter (ALP)The applicability of standard methods of elaboration of powder diffraction data for determination of the structure of nano-size crystallites is analysed. Based on our theoretical calculations of powder diffraction data we show, that the assumption of the infinite crystal lattice for nanocrystals smaller than 20 nm in size is not justified. Application of conventional tools developed for elaboration of powder diffraction data, like the Rietveld method, may lead to erroneous interpretation of the experimental results. An alternate evaluation of diffraction data of nanoparticles, based on the so-called 'apparent lattice parameter' (alp) is introduced. We assume a model of nanocrystal having a grain core with well-defined crystal structure, surrounded by a surface shell with the atomic structure similar to that of the core but being under a strain (compressive or tensile). The two structural components, the core and the shell, form essentially a composite crystal with interfering, inseparable diffraction properties. Because the structure of such a nanocrystal is not uniform, it defies the basic definitions of an unambiguous crystallographic phase. Consequently, a set of lattice parameters used for characterization of simple crystal phases is insufficient for a proper description of the complex structure of nanocrystals. We developed a method of evaluation of powder diffraction data of nanocrystals, which refers to a core-shell model and is based on the 'apparent lattice parameter' methodology. For a given diffraction pattem, the alp values are calculated for every individual Bragg reflection. For nanocrystals the alp values depend on the diffraction vector Q. By modeling different a0tomic structures of nanocrystals and calculating theoretically corresponding diffraction patterns using the Debye functions we showed, that alp-Q plots show characteristic shapes which can be used for evaluation of the atomic structure of the core-shell system. We show, that using a simple model of a nanocrystal with spherical shape and centro-symmetric strain at the surface shell we obtain theoretical alp-Q values which match very well the alp-Q plots determined experimentally for Sic, GaN, and diamond nanopowders. The theoretical models are defined by the lattice parameter of the grain core, thickness of the surface shell, and the magnitude and distribution of the strain field in the surface shell. According to our calculations, the part of the diffraction pattern measured at relatively low diffraction vectors Q (below 10/angstrom) provides information on the surface strain, whle determination of the lattice parameters in the grain core requires measurements at large Q-values (above 15 - 20/angstrom).
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Palosz, B. (Polish Academy of Sciences Warsaw, Poland)
Grzanka, E. (Polish Academy of Sciences Warsaw, Poland)
Gierlotka, S. (Polish Academy of Sciences Warsaw, Poland)
Stelmakh, S. (Polish Academy of Sciences Warsaw, Poland)
Pielaszek, R. (Polish Academy of Sciences Warsaw, Poland)
Bismayer, U. (Hamburg Univ. Germany)
Weber, H.-P. (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility Grenoble, France)
Palosz, W. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Curreri, Peter A.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2002
Subject Category
Solid-State Physics
Meeting Information
XIX Congress of the International Union of Crystallography(Geneva)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.