Real-time atomistic observation of structural phase transformations in individual hafnia nanorods

Bethany M. Hudak, Sean W. Depner, Gregory R. Waetzig, Anjana Talapatra, Raymundo Arroyave, Sarbajit Banerjee, Beth S. Guiton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


High-temperature phases of hafnium dioxide have exceptionally high dielectric constants and large bandgaps, but quenching them to room temperature remains a challenge. Scaling the bulk form to nanocrystals, while successful in stabilizing the tetragonal phase of isomorphous ZrO 2, has produced nanorods with a twinned version of the room temperature monoclinic phase in HfO 2. Here we use in situ heating in a scanning transmission electron microscope to observe the transformation of an HfO 2 nanorod from monoclinic to tetragonal, with a transformation temperature suppressed by over 1000°C from bulk. When the nanorod is annealed, we observe with atomic-scale resolution the transformation from twinned-monoclinic to tetragonal, starting at a twin boundary and propagating via coherent transformation dislocation; the nanorod is reduced to hafnium on cooling. Unlike the bulk displacive transition, nanoscale size-confinement enables us to manipulate the transformation mechanism, and we observe discrete nucleation events and sigmoidal nucleation and growth kinetics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15316
JournalNature Communications
StatePublished - May 12 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2017.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Real-time atomistic observation of structural phase transformations in individual hafnia nanorods'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this