First-principles assessment of potential ultrafast laser-induced structural transition in Ni

Abstract : The possibility to trigger ultrafast solid-to-solid transitions in transition metals under femtosecond laser irradiation is investigated by means of first-principles calculations. Electronic heating can drastically modify screening, charge distribution and atomic binding features, potentially determining new structural relaxation paths in the solid phase, before thermodynamic solid-to-liquid transformations set in. Consequently, we evaluate here the effect of electronic excitation on structural stability and conditions for structural transitions. Ni is chosen as a case study for the probability of a solid transition, and the stability of its FCC phase is compared to the non-standard HCP structure while accounting for the heating of the electronic subsystem. From a phonon spectra analysis, we show that the thermodynamic stability order reverses at an electronic temperature of around 10 4 K. Both structures exhibit a dynamic stability, indicating they present a metastability depending on the heating. However, the general hardening of phonon modes with the increase of the electronic temperature points out that no transformation will occur, as confirmed by the study of a typical FCC to HCP diffusionless transformation path, showing an increasing energy barrier. Finally, based on electronic density of states interpretation, the tendency of different metal categories to undergo or not an ultrafast laser-induced structural transition is discussed.
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Applied Surface Science, Elsevier, 2016, E-MRS 2015 Spring Meeting Symposium CC: “Laser and plasma processing for advanced applications in material science”, 11-15 May 2015, Lille (France), 374, pp.365-369. 〈10.1016/j.apsusc.2015.12.139〉
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Emile Bévillon, Jean-Philippe Colombier, Razvan Stoian. First-principles assessment of potential ultrafast laser-induced structural transition in Ni. Applied Surface Science, Elsevier, 2016, E-MRS 2015 Spring Meeting Symposium CC: “Laser and plasma processing for advanced applications in material science”, 11-15 May 2015, Lille (France), 374, pp.365-369. 〈10.1016/j.apsusc.2015.12.139〉. 〈ujm-01340987〉

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