First-principles density functional theory calculations are performed to examine five postulated diffusion mechanisms for Ni in NiAl: next-nearest-neighbor (NNN) jumps, the triple defect mechanism, and three variants of the six-jump cycle. In contrast to most previous theoretical work, which employed empirical interatomic potentials, we provide a more accurate nonempirical description of the mechanisms. For each pathway, we calculate the activation energy and the pre-exponential factor for the diffusion constant. Although our quantum mechanics calculations are performed at 0 K, we show that it is critical to include the effect of temperature on the pre-exponential factor. We predict that the triple defect mechanism and  six-jump cycle both are likely contributors to Ni diffusion in NiAl since their activation energies and pre-exponential factors are in very good agreement with experimental data. Although the activation energy and pre-exponential factor of NNN jumps agree well with experiment, experimental evidence suggests that this is not a dominant contributor to Ni diffusion. Lastly, the activation energies of the  bent and straight six-jump cycles are 1 eV higher than the experimental value, allowing us to exclude both  cycle mechanisms.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|State||Published - Nov 11 2008|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics