On the spatial stability and bifurcation of the kirkendall plane during solid-state interdiffusion

A. A. Kodentsov, A. Paul, M. J.H. Van Dal, Cs Cserhati, A. M. Gusak, F. J.J. Van Loo

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In a diffusion-controlled interaction, the Kirkendall plane, identified by inert particles placed at the initial interface between the reactants, need not be unique. The Kirkendall plane can microstructurally (spatially) be stable as well as unstable, and can, under predictable circumstances, bifurcate and even trifurcate. The movement of the Kirkendall markers during the interaction can be rationalized using the classical diffusion theory in terms of the Kirkendall velocity construction. The position of a Kirkendall plane is revealed in the reaction zone not only by the presence of inert markers, but also by a different crystal morphology developed on either side of the plane. The role of the Kirkendall plane in the morphogenesis of multiphase interdiffusion systems can be elucidated using equations of the interfacial reactions occurring in the diffusion zone. The appearance of one or more Kirkendall planes, characterized by morphology changes in the reaction layers is related to different nucleation sites of the product grains. The presence or absence of a Kirkendall plane in certain product phases provides insight into the initial stages of the reactive diffusion. Besides, the sometimes observed spatial (and temporal) patterns in a diffusion zone can be interpreted (and globally predicted) as a Kirkendall-effect mediated phenomenon. These conclusions will alter some previous notions about the diffusional growth of reaction layers and will influence the educational treatment in textbooks. It also will have strong technological implications, e.g., in the field of composite materials, thin-film electronic devices, etc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-233
Number of pages24
JournalCritical Reviews in Solid State and Materials Sciences
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2008



  • Diffusion
  • Kirkendall effect
  • Kirkendall plane
  • Microstructure
  • Periodic pattern

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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