Phase-field-crystal investigation of the morphology of a steady-state dendrite tip on the atomic scale
AbstractThrough phase-field-crystal (PFC) simulations, we investigated, on the atomic scale, the crucial role played by interface energy anisotropy and growth driving force during the morphological evolution of a dendrite tip at low growth driving force. In the layer-by-layer growth manner, the interface energy anisotropy drives the forefront of the dendrite tip to evolve to be highly similar to the corner of the corresponding equilibrium crystal from the aspects of atom configuration and morphology, and thus affects greatly the formation and growth of a steady-state dendrite tip. Meanwhile, the driving force substantially influences the part behind the forefront of the dendrite tip, rather than the forefront itself. However, as the driving force increases enough to change the layer-by-layer growth to the multilayer growth, the morphology of the dendrite tip's forefront is completely altered. Parabolic fitting of the dendrite tip reveals that an increase in the influence of interface energy anisotropy makes dendrite tips deviate increasingly from a parabolic shape. By quantifying the deviations under various interface energy anisotropies and growth driving forces, it is suggested that a perfect parabola is an asymptotic limit for the shape of the dendrite tips. Furthermore, the atomic scale description of the dendrite tip obtained in the PFC simulation is compatible with the mesoscopic results obtained in the phase-field simulation in terms of the dendrite tip's morphology and the stability criterion constant.