Size-dependent radiation damage mechanisms in nanowires and nanoporous structures

D Vizoso and M Kosmidou and TJ Balk and K Hattar and C Deo and R Dingreville, ACTA MATERIALIA, 215, 117018 (2021).

DOI: 10.1016/j.actamat.2021.117018

Nanostructures with a high density of interfaces, such as in nanoporous materials and nanowires, resist radiation damage by promoting the annihilation and migration of defects. This study details the size effect and origins of the radiation damage mechanisms in nanowires and nanoporous structures in model face-centered (gold) and body-centered (niobium) cubic nanostructures using accelerated multi-cascade atomistic simulations and in-situ ion irradiation experiments. Our results reveal three different size-dependent mechanisms of damage accumulation in irradiated nanowires and nanoporous structures: sputtering for very small nanowires and ligaments, the formation and accumulation of point defects and dislocation loops in larger nanowires, and a face-centered- cubic to hexagonal-close-packed phase transformation for a narrow range of wire diameters in the case of gold nanowires. Smaller nanowires and ligaments have a net effect of lowering the radiation damage as compared to larger wires that can be traced back to the fact that smaller nanowires transition from a rapid accumulation of defects to a saturation and annihilation mechanism at a lower dose than larger nanowires. These irradiation damage mechanisms are accompanied with radiation-induced surface roughening resulting from defect-surface interactions. Comparisons between nanowires and nanoporous structures show that the various mechanisms seen in nanowires provide adequate bounds for the defect accumulation mechanisms in nanoporous structures with the difference attributed to the role of nodes connecting ligaments in nanoporous structures. Taken together, our results shed light on the compounded, size-dependent mechanisms leading to the radiation resistance of nanowires and nanoporous structures. (C) 2021 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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