Studying nearest neighbor correlations by atom probe tomography (APT) in metallic glasses as exemplified for Fe40Ni40B20 glassy ribbons

Ahmed Shariq, Tala'at Al-Kassab, Reiner Kirchheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


A next nearest neighbor evaluation procedure of atom probe tomography data provides distributions of the distances between atoms. The width of these distributions for metallic glasses studied so far is a few Angstrom reflecting the spatial resolution of the analytical technique. However, fitting Gaussian distributions to the distribution of atomic distances yields average distances with statistical uncertainties of 2 to 3 hundredth of an Angstrom. Fe 40Ni40B20 metallic glass ribbons are characterized this way in the as quenched state and for a state heat treated at 350 °C for 1 h revealing a change in the structure on the sub-nanometer scale. By applying the statistical tool of the χ2 test a slight deviation from a random distribution of B-atoms in the as quenched sample is perceived, whereas a pronounced elemental inhomogeneity of boron is detected for the annealed state. In addition, the distance distribution of the first fifteen atomic neighbors is determined by using this algorithm for both annealed and as quenched states. The next neighbor evaluation algorithm evinces a steric periodicity of the atoms when the next neighbor distances are normalized by the first next neighbor distance. A comparison of the nearest neighbor atomic distribution for as quenched and annealed state shows accumulation of Ni and B. Moreover, it also reveals the tendency of Fe and B to move slightly away from each other, an incipient step to Ni rich boride formation. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-277
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Alloys and Compounds
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The Lower Saxony's government and SFB 602 are gratefully acknowledged for the financial support of this project.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Mechanical Engineering


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