Both x-ray diffuse reflectivity and laser light scattering have been used to investigate the temperature-dependent surface behavior of a Ni63Al37 single crystal on different length scales. In-situ experiments were performed above the conventional martensitic start temperature Ms to search for premartensitic phenomena. X-ray experiments showed the presence of a surface precursor with second-order (continuous) character several 10 K above Ms. This premonitory effect corresponds to a height-height-correlation function which changes on the nanometer scale as the martensitic transformation is approached. At the martensitic transformation, the surface morphology changed from nanoscopic roughness to macroscopic relief within a temperature interval of less than 1 K via intermediate stages. Laser light scattering was employed to study time-dependent aspects of the athermal martensitic transformation above Ms. The occurrence of a martensitic transformation on isothermal holding after a certain incubation period was observed in Ni-Al for the first time. The measured incubation times increased by four orders of magnitude within a temperature interval of 0.5 K.
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