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High-entropy alloys, which are made from nearly equal parts of several primary metals, could hold great potential for creating materials with superior mechanical properties.

But with a practically unlimited number of possible combinations, one challenge for metallurgists is figuring out where to focus their research efforts in a vast, unexplored world of metallic mixtures.

A team of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a new process that could help guide such efforts. Their approach involves building an atomic resolution chemical map to help gain new insights into individual and help characterize their properties.

In a study published Oct. 9 in the journal Nature, the researchers described using energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy to create maps of individual metals in two high-entropy alloys. This spectroscopy technique, used in conjunction with transmission electron microscopy, detects X-rays emitted from a sample during bombardment by an electron beam to characterize the elemental composition of an analyzed sample. The maps show how arrange themselves within the alloy, allowing researchers to look for patterns that could help them design alloys emphasizing individual properties.

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Category: Science