The microstructural evolution and chemistry of the ferrite phase (α), which transforms from the parent austenite phase (γ) of 316L stainless steel during gallium (Ga) ion beam implantation in Focused Ion Beam (FIB) instrument was systematically studied as a function of Ga+ ion dose and γ grain orientations. The propensity for initiation of γ → α phase transformation was observed to be strongly dependent on the orientation of the γ grain with respect to the ion beam direction and correlates well with the ion channelling differences in the γ orientations studied. Several α variants formed within a single γ orientation and the sputtering rate of the material, after the γ → α transformation, is governed by the orientation of α variants. With increased ion dose, there is an evolution of orientation of the α variants towards a variant of higher Ga+ channelling. Unique topographical features were observed within each specific γ orientation that can be attributed to the orientation of defects formed during the ion implantation. In most cases, γ and α were related by either Kurdjumov-Sachs (KS) or Nishiyama-Wassermann (NW) orientation relationship (OR) while in few, no known OR's were identified. While our results are consistent with gallium enrichment being the cause for the γ → α phase transformation, some observations also suggest that the strain associated with the presence of gallium atoms in the lattice has a far field stress effect that promotes the phase transformation ahead of gallium penetration.
- Ion implantation
- Phase transformation