Atomistically-informed modeling of point defect clustering and evolution in irradiated ThO2
SK Mazumder and MKS Singh and T Kumagai and A El-Azab, CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 562, 111645 (2022).
A cluster dynamics (CD) model has been developed to investigate the nucleation and growth of point defect clusters, i.e., interstitial prismatic loops and nanoscale and sub-nanoscale voids, in ThO2 during irradiation by energetic particles. The model considers cluster off- stoichiometry due to the asymmetry of point defect gener-ation on the O and Th sublattices under irradiation, as well as the point defect diffusivities and the defect binding energies to clusters. The energies were established using detailed molecular dynamics simulations considering the statistical variability of cluster configuration. A high-order adaptive time-integration has been used to solve the model. The predicted loop density and their average size is in good agreement with reported experimental observations for proton irradiated ThO2 at 600C. The model did not predict void evolution due to the sluggish kinetics of cation vacancies, explaining the absence of voids in proton irradiated ThO2 (and other oxides) at relatively low temperatures.
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