In-situ TEM characterization and atomistic simulation of cavity generation and interaction in tungsten at 800 °C under dual W2+/He+ irradiation

Emre Yildirim, Paul M. Mummery, Graeme Greaves, Christopher P. Race, Enrique Jimenez-Melero

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In this work, we have investigated the role of pre-existing nano-scale cavities and irradiation sequence in helium clustering, and in the evolution of the cavity population in tungsten at 800 °C, by performing in-situ Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) characterizations under dual-beam W2+(600 keV)/He+(10 keV) irradiation to a total dose of 0.351 dpa, and supported by atomistic simulations. Pre-existing cavities, induced by single W2+ irradiation to 0.256 dpa, were seen to attract induced defects from subsequent irradiations, resulting in enhanced cavity size and a reduced number density in sequential irradiation when compared to concurrent irradiation. Such cavities developed faceted geometries and saturated in number density at an additional 0.051 dpa induced by He+ exposure in the sequential irradiation. In contrast, concurrent irradiations generate a denser cavity distribution that showed no sign of saturation or faceting up to the total irradiation damage of 0.351 dpa. In addition, Molecular Dynamics and Statics simulations were performed using LAMMPS software. These showed the pre-existing cavities to be trapping sites for helium atoms. Despite the large binding energy of ∼6 eV of those cavities, He-He interactions still occurred beyond the effective radius of such sinks, leading to additional He-He clustering not seeded by neighbouring cavities. These results point to the importance of selecting the irradiation conditions to simulate synergistic ion effects on cavity formation and evolution in plasma-facing tungsten-base materials.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101672
Number of pages10
JournalNuclear Materials and Energy
Early online date13 May 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024

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