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Published July 2012 | Published
Journal Article Open

Ultrafast Kikuchi Diffraction: Nanoscale Stress−Strain Dynamics of Wave-Guiding Structures


Complex structural dynamics at the nanoscale requires sufficiently small probes to be visualized. In conventional imaging using electron microscopy, the dimension of the probe is large enough to cause averaging over the structures present. However, by converging ultrafast electron bunches, it is possible to select a single nanoscale structure and study the dynamics, either in the image or using electron diffraction. Moreover, the span of incident wave vectors in a convergent beam enables sensitivity levels and information contents beyond those of parallel-beam illumination with a single wave vector Bragg diffraction. Here, we report the observation of propagating strain waves using ultrafast Kikuchi diffraction from nanoscale volumes within a wedge-shaped silicon single crystal. It is found that the heterogeneity of the strain in the lateral direction is only 100 nm. The transient elastic wave gives rise to a coherent oscillation with a period of 30 ps and with an envelope that has a width of 140 ps. The origin of this elastic deformation is theoretically examined using finite element analysis; it is identified as propagating shear waves. The wedge-shaped structure, unlike parallel-plate structure, is the key behind the traveling nature of the waves as its angle permits "transverse" propagation; the parallel-plate structure only exhibits the "longitudinal" motion. The studies reported suggest extension to a range of applications for nanostructures of different shapes and for exploring their ultrafast eigen-modes of stress–strain profiles.

Additional Information

© 2012 American Chemical Society. Received: May 1, 2012. Publication Date (Web): June 5, 2012. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (DMR-0964886) and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (FA9550-11-1-0055) in the Gordon and Betty Moore Center for Physical Biology at the California Institute of Technology.

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