Deformation-induced phase transformation in 4H-SiC nanopillars
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The deformation behaviour of single-crystal SiC nanopillars was studied by a combination of in situ deformation transmission electron microscopy and molecular dynamics simulations. An unexpected deformation-induced phase transformation from the 4H hexagonal structure to the 3C face-centred cubic structure was observed in these nanopillars at room temperature. Atomistic simulations revealed that the 4H to 3C phase transformation follows a stick–slip process with initiation and end stresses of 12.1–14.0 and 7.9–9.0 GPa, respectively. The experimentally measured stress of 9–10 GPa for the phase transformation falls within the range of these theoretical upper and lower stresses. The reasons for the phase transformation are discussed. The finding sheds light on the understanding of phase transformation in polytypic materials at low temperature.
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