Dynamic formation of preferentially lattice oriented, self trapped hydrogen clusters

MA Cusentino and EL Sikorski and MJ McCarthy and AP Thompson and MA Wood, MATERIALS RESEARCH EXPRESS, 10, 106513 (2023).

DOI: 10.1088/2053-1591/acfae7

A series of MD and DFT simulations were performed to investigate hydrogen self-clustering and retention in tungsten. Using a newly develop machine learned interatomic potential, spontaneous formation of hydrogen platelets was observed after implanting low-energy hydrogen into tungsten at high fluxes and temperatures. The platelets formed along low miller index orientations and neighboring tetrahedral and octahedral sites and could grow to over 50 atoms in size. High temperatures above 600 K and high hydrogen concentrations were needed to observe significant platelet formation. A critical platelet size of six hydrogen atoms was needed for long term stability. Platelets smaller than this were found to be thermally unstable within a few nanoseconds. To verify these observations, characteristic platelets from the MD simulations were simulated using large-scale DFT. DFT corroborated the MD results in that large platelets were also found to be dynamically stable for five or more hydrogen atoms. The LDOS from the DFT simulated platelets indicated that hydrogen atoms, particularly at the periphery of the platelet, were found to be at least as stable as hydrogen atoms in bulk tungsten. In addition, electrons were found to be localized around hydrogen atoms in the platelet itself and that hydrogen atoms up to 4.2 angstrom away within the platelet were found to share charge suggesting that the hydrogen atoms are interacting across longer distances than previously suggested. These results reveal a self- clustering mechanisms for hydrogen within tungsten in the absence of radiation induced or microstructural defects that could be a precursor to blistering and potentially explain the experimentally observed high hydrogen retention particularly in the near surface region.

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