The nanostructured origin of deformation twinning

Nano Lett. 2012 Feb 8;12(2):887-92. doi: 10.1021/nl203937t. Epub 2012 Jan 23.


We have revealed the fundamental embryonic structure of deformation twins using in situ mechanical testing of magnesium single crystals in a transmission electron microscope. This structure consists of an array of twin-related laths on the scale of several nanometers. A computational model demonstrates that this structure should be a generic feature at the incipient stage of deformation twinning when there are correlated nucleation events. Our results shed light on the origin of twinning-induced plasticity and transformation toughening, critical to the development of advanced structural alloys with high strength, ductility, and toughness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Magnesium / chemistry*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Particle Size
  • Surface Properties


  • Magnesium