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Atomic Scale Defects: Structure and Function

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "AtoFun" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: OXFORD
postcode: OX1 2JD

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Total cost 1˙610˙231 €
 EC max contribution 1˙610˙231 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2016-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-03-01   to  2022-02-28


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

Atomic scale defects play a key role in determining the behaviour of all crystalline materials, profoundly modifying mechanical, thermal and electrical properties. Many current technological applications make do with phenomenological descriptions of these effects; yet myriad intriguing questions about the fundamental link between defect structure and material function remain.

Transmission electron microscopy revolutionised the study of atomic scale defects by enabling their direct imaging. The novel coherent X-ray diffraction techniques developed in this project promise a similar advancement, making it possible to probe the strain fields that govern defect interactions in 3D with high spatial resolution (<10 nm). They will allow us to clarify the effect of impurities and retained gas on dislocation strain fields, shedding light on opportunities to engineer dislocation properties. The exceptional strain sensitivity of coherent diffraction will enable us to explore the fundamental mechanisms governing the behaviour of ion-implantation-induced point defects that are invisible to TEM. While we concentrate on dislocations and point defects, the new techniques will apply to all crystalline materials where defects are important. Our characterisation of defect structure will be combined with laser transient grating measurements of thermal transport changes due to specific defect populations. This unique multifaceted perspective of defect behaviour will transform our ability to devise modelling approaches linking defect structure to material function.

Our proof-of-concept results highlight the feasibility of this ambitious research project. It opens up a vast range of exciting possibilities to gain a deep, fundamental understanding of atomic scale defects and their effect on material function. This is an essential prerequisite for exploiting and engineering defects to enhance material properties.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2020 Abdallah Reza, Yevhen Zayachuk, Hongbing Yu, Felix Hofmann
Transient grating spectroscopy of thermal diffusivity degradation in deuterium implanted tungsten
published pages: 6-10, ISSN: 1359-6462, DOI: 10.1016/j.scriptamat.2019.08.014
Scripta Materialia 174 2019-10-29
2019 Felix Hofmann, Nicholas W. Phillips, Suchandrima Das, Phani Karamched, Gareth M. Hughes, James O. Douglas, Wonsuk Cha, Wenjun Liu
Nano-scale imaging of the full strain tensor of specific dislocations extracted from a bulk sample
published pages: , ISSN: 2475-9953, DOI:
Physical Review Materials 2019-10-29
2019 Yi Guo, David M. Collins, Edmund Tarleton, Felix Hofmann, Angus J. Wilkinson, T. Ben Britton
Dislocation density distribution at slip band-grain boundary intersections
published pages: , ISSN: 1359-6454, DOI: 10.1016/j.actamat.2019.10.031
Acta Materialia 2019-10-29
2019 Hofmann, Felix; Short, Michael P.; Dennett, Cody A.
Transient grating spectroscopy: An ultrarapid, nondestructive materials evaluation technique
published pages: pp. 392-402, ISSN: 0883-7694, DOI: 10.1557/mrs.2019.104
MRS Bulletin Volume 44, Issue 5 2019-10-29
2019 Yang, David; Phillips, Nicholas W.; Hofmann, Felix
Mapping Data Between Sample and Detector Conjugated Spaces in Bragg Coherent Diffraction Imaging
published pages: , ISSN: 0909-0495, DOI:
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation 2019-10-29
2017 Felix Hofmann, Nicholas W. Phillips, Ross J. Harder, Wenjun Liu, Jesse N. Clark, Ian K. Robinson, Brian Abbey
Micro-beam Laue alignment of multi-reflection Bragg coherent diffraction imaging measurements
published pages: 1048-1055, ISSN: 1600-5775, DOI: 10.1107/s1600577517009183
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation 24/5 2019-06-13
2017 J.E. Huber, F. Hofmann, S. Barhli, T.J. Marrow, C. Hildersley
Observation of crack growth in a polycrystalline ferroelectric by synchrotron X-ray diffraction
published pages: 23-26, ISSN: 1359-6462, DOI: 10.1016/j.scriptamat.2017.06.053
Scripta Materialia 140 2019-06-13
2018 Felix Hofmann, Ross J. Harder, Wenjun Liu, Yuzi Liu, Ian K. Robinson, Yevhen Zayachuk
Glancing-incidence focussed ion beam milling: A coherent X-ray diffraction study of 3D nano-scale lattice strains and crystal defects
published pages: 113-123, ISSN: 1359-6454, DOI: 10.1016/j.actamat.2018.05.018
Acta Materialia 154 2019-04-18
2018 Hongbing Yu, Xiaoou Yi, Felix Hofmann
3D reconstruction of the spatial distribution of dislocation loops using an automated stereo-imaging approach
published pages: 58-68, ISSN: 0304-3991, DOI: 10.1016/j.ultramic.2018.08.018
Ultramicroscopy 195 2019-04-18

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