Atomic Transport in Irradiated Solids


Atomic transport in irradiated solids has been investigated in both the prompt and delayed regimes. Prompt effects are revealed on an atomic level through molecular dynamics computer simulations. It is demonstrated that for metals like gold, which have high atomic numbers and low melting points, thermal spikes play a primary role in the cascade dynamics and that concepts like melting and rapid quenching are useful descriptions. Surface effects in these metals are also discussed. For metals with higher melting points and lower atomic numbers, the cascade dynamics are determined almost exclusively by energetic collisions far above thermal energies. This is illustrated by simulations of cascades in NiAl. The effect of the high ordering energy in this intermetallic compound on the radiation-induced defect structure has also been studied.

Atomic transport in the delayed regime is illustrated by two examples: an order-disorder alloy, Cu3Au, and an amorphous alloy, NiZr. The first example is used to illustrate various aspects of radiation enhanced diffusion (RED): ion beam mixing, diffusion kinetics, the effects of primary recoil spectrum, and the importance of chemical order. The second example illustrates that the basic theory of RED, which was developed to describe crystalline materials, appears to work adequately for amorphous metal alloys, suggesting that similar mechanisms may be operating. It is shown, however, that the kinetics of RED observed in amorphous alloys are not unique to point defect models.

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The authors are grateful for helpful discussions and suggestions of Prof. C.P. Flynn regarding the RED of Cu3Au. The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Basic Energy Sciences under grant DEFG02-91ER45439.

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Averback, R., Ghaly, M., Lee, Y. et al. Atomic Transport in Irradiated Solids. MRS Online Proceedings Library 311, 209–219 (1993).

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