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Analysis of position-dependent cavity parameters in irradiated metals to obtain insight on fundamental defect migration phenomena

by Yan-ru Lin, Arunodaya Bhattacharya, Steven J Zinkle
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Materials & Design
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Motion of point defects is a fundamental process that governs microstructure and properties of materials. Here, we examine the near-surface and grain boundary cavity swelling depth profiles in neutron- and ion-irradiated simple metals (Cu, Ni, and Fe-Cr) and investigate diffusional broadening of implanted Ni ions in Fe-Cr alloys. Vacancy migration energies and radiation-enhanced diffusion were experimentally estimated. Cavity denuded zone widths near planar sinks are shown to be dependent on temperature, damage rate, balance of point defects and sinks, and vacancy migration energies. An enhanced cavity swelling zone adjacent to the void-denuded zone was observed in specimens with low to moderate sink strength and interpreted as evidence of 1D gliding interstitial clusters. Radiation-enhanced diffusional broadening of implanted Ni ions (at 400–550 °C) in Fe and Fe-Cr was up to 250 nm toward the surface, which leads to a much broader near-peak-damage region where cavity swelling is suppressed. Diffusional broadening of implanted ions is calculated to be similarly pronounced for self-ion irradiations, particularly near the peak and higher swelling temperature regimes. Adequately high ion energies (∼8–15 MeV) are recommended for ion-irradiation studies to provide a sufficiently broad midrange safe analysis region with minimized surface and injected ion effects.