Compared to previous years, the 2019 edition of the project for this course was a little different. The project was not a mandatory part of the course any longer for for-credit students. As a result, only 1 team of volunteering students took up the challenge this year. This brave effort got stuck in some technical issues, but did end up nevertheless in a report that can be read here.
The peer feedback by other students on this project paper, is available here.
For whoever reads this page out of sync with the Fall 2019 delivery of this course, it might be useful to know the task that was given to the project team (copied underneath).
This was the task originally given:
Crystalline nickel has the fcc crystal structure. However, when grown as a thin film on a sapphire substrate, a fcc nickel film that is not too thick spontaneously develops an even thinner hcp nickel film on top of the fcc film. In this paper, researchers report on DFT calculations that reveal the mechanism behind this peculiar effect (well, to be honest, they don’t observe it for pure nickel, only for an alloy of 80% nickel and 20% iron). This is how they summarize their observation and explanation in the abstract of their paper: “Both the high-resolution X-ray diffraction and the cross-sectional high-resolution transmission electron microscopy observations revealed the phase separation of the Ni80Fe20 films into two parallel layers of the face-centered cubic (adjacent to the substrate) and hexagonal close-packed (on the top of the film) phases of similar compositions. Our density functional theory (DFT) calculations indicated that this phase separation is driven by the decrease of the film surface and interface energy, leading to the thermodynamically equilibrium thickness of the metastable hexagonal close-packed phase.”
Your task for this project is:
Some more guidance for the first of these three steps: