The effect of He and swift heavy ions on nanocrystalline zirconium nitride
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Recent studies have shown that swift heavy ion irradiation may significantly modulate hydrogen and helium behaviour in some materials. This phenomenon is of considerable practical interest for ceramics in general and also for candidate materials for use as inert matrix fuel hosts. These materials will accumulate helium via (n, alpha) reactions and will also be subjected to irradiation by fission fragments. Cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy and scanning electron microscopy was used to study nanocrystalline ZrN irradiated with 30 keV He to fluences between 10(16) and 5 x 10(16) cm(-2), 167 MeV Xe to fluences between 5 x 10(13) and 10(14) cm(-2) and also 695 MeV Bi to a fluence of 1.5 x 10(13) cm(-2). He/Bi and He/Xe irradiated samples were annealed at temperatures between 600 and 1000 degrees C and were analysed using SEM, XTEM and selected area diffraction. The results indicated that post irradiation heat treatment induces exfoliation at a depth that corresponds to the en...d-of-range of 30 keV He ions. SEM and XTEM analysis of He/Xe irradiated samples revealed that electronic excitation effects, due to Xe ions, suppress helium blister formation and consequently the exfoliation processes. He/Bi samples however do not show the same effects. This suggests that nanocrystalline ZrN is prone to the formation of He blisters which may ultimately lead material failure. These effects may however be mitigated by electronic excitation effects from certain SHIs. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords:ZrN / Nanocrystalline / He / Swift heavy ions / TEM / SEM
Source:Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research. Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms, 2014, 326, 19-22
- Physics and Chemistry with Ion Beams (RS-45006)
- Russian Foundation for Basic Research [N11-08-93962-SAR_a], National Research Foundation of South Africa