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The role of stacking fault tetrahedra on void swelling in irradiated copper

by Ziang Yu, Yan-ru Lin, Michael J Zachman, Steven J Zinkle, Haixuan Xu
Publication Type
Journal Name
Communications Materials
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 9

A long-standing and critical issue in the field of irradiated structural materials is that void swelling is significantly higher in face-centered cubic-structured (fcc) materials (1% dpa−1) as compared to that of body-centered cubic-structured (bcc) materials (0.2% dpa−1). Despite extensive research in this area, the underlying mechanism of the difference in swelling resistance between these two types of materials is not yet fully understood. Here, by combining atomistic simulations and STEM imaging, we find stacking fault tetrahedra (SFTs) are the primary cause of the high swelling rate in pure fcc copper. We reveal that SFTs in fcc copper are not neutral sinks, different from the conventional knowledge. On the contrary, they are highly biased compared to other types of sinks because of the SFT-point defect interaction mechanism. SFTs show strong absorption of mobile self-interstitial atoms (SIAs) from the faces and vertices, and weak absorption of mobile vacancies from the edges. We compare the predicted swelling rates with experimental findings under varying conditions, demonstrating the distinct contributions of each type of sink. These findings will contribute to understanding the swelling of irradiated structural materials, which may facilitate the design of materials with high swelling resistance.