Experimental Growth of New 6-fold Symmetry Patterned Microcrystals of AlN: Equilibrium Structures and Growth Mechanism

Hayk H. Nersisyan, Daeyoung Kim, Bunguk Yoo, Woojong Kang, Byungchan Han, Jonghyeon Lee

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20 Citations (Scopus)


For the first time, we experimentally detected the formation of 6-fold symmetry patterned microcrystals of AlN (aluminum nitride), such as simple prisms, stellar and sectored plates, and stellar and fernlike stellar dendrites. These crystals were formed during combustion of a solid mixture of Al + kAlF3 (k = 0.05-0.1 mol) under a nitrogen atmosphere (PN2 = 2.5 MPa). The combustion temperature recorded with a thermocouple was in the 1700-1900 °C range. We examined the physical mechanisms governing the formation of AlN crystals, and we treated this problem as a case study of the dynamics of crystal growth from the liquid phase. Particular attention was given to the basic theoretical understanding of the subject, utilizing first-principles density functional theory calculations. The Wulff construction method was applied to identify equilibrium structures of nano- and microscale AlN crystals. Energy minimization arguments were used to show that certain crystal planes of AlN are more probable than others, giving the crystal 6-fold symmetry. The integrated experiments and computations form the basis for our proposal of the underlying mechanisms for nucleation and growth of the AlN crystals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5305-5311
Number of pages7
JournalCrystal Growth and Design
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sept 7

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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