The effect of W on the nanovoid formation in annealed amorphous Al 2O3 was studied by transmission electron microscopy and molecular dynamics simulations. A comparison of the void formation behavior in electron-beam deposited Al2O3 (without W) and resistance-heating deposited Al2O3 (with 10 at. W) revealed that W enhances the formation and growth of nanovoids. An analysis of the pair distribution function (PDF) in both types of amorphous Al 2O3 showed that the introduction of W into amorphous Al2O3 brings about a significant change in the amorphous structure. Furthermore, it was found by high-angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF-STEM) that sub-nm sized W clusters exist in as-deposited Al2O3 prepared by resistance-heating and then dissolve in the amorphous matrix with annealing. The combination of PDF analysis and HAADF-STEM observation provides evidence that the enhancement of void formation originates in the heterogeneous short-range atomic configurations induced by the addition of W.
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