An in-situ electron microscopy study of dual ion-beam irradiated xenotime-type ErPO4

Mohamed Ruwaid Rafiuddin, Anne Magali Seydoux-Guillaume, Xavier Deschanels, Adel Mesbah, Cedric Baumier, Stephanie Szenknect, Nicolas Dacheux

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Rare-earth phosphates adopting the xenotime (REPO4; RE = Tb − Lu & Y, Sc) structure are proposed as a potential matrix for the confinement of minor actinides. Minor actinides (e.g., Np, Am, Cm) undergo a radioactive decay process in which high-energy recoil atom (70–100 keV) and energetic alpha particles (4.5–5.8 MeV) are produced. In this study, the impact of these energetic decay products on the structure of xenotime-type ErPO4 has been investigated via high energy dual ion-beam irradiation of ErPO4 ceramics. Au2+ (1.5 MeV) and He+ (160 keV) ions were used to simulate the effects of recoil atom and α-particles, respectively. Multiple experiments were carried out in which the Au2+ and He+ ions with varying ion-fluences (ions/cm2) and ion-flux (ions/cm2/s) were implanted sequentially (Au2+ followed by He+ irradiation) and simultaneously (Au2+ + He+ irradiation) into ErPO4 ceramics. Sequential ion-irradiation experiments have shown that the xenotime structure was amorphized by Au2+ ions at a relatively lower ion-fluence (5 × 1013 ions/cm2) in comparison to the monazite structure. Upon irradiation of the amorphous ErPO4 with He+ ions, recrystallization of the amorphous xenotime due to α-particles was not observed. However, simultaneous ion-irradiation experiments on ErPO4 showed that the amorphization of the xenotime structure was prevented upon deposition of higher amounts of electronic energy (Eelectronic) in the lamella. Likewise monazite samples, the α-healing mechanism was also experimentally demonstrated in synthetic xenotime samples.

Original languageEnglish
Article number152265
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
Early online date6 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


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