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Transition from Irradiation‐Induced Amorphization to Crystallization in Nanocrystalline Silicon Carbide

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Response to irradiation of nanocrystalline 3C–SiC is studied using 2 MeV Au2+ ions at elevated temperatures and is compared to the behavior of its monocrystalline counterpart under the identical irradiation conditions. The irradiated samples are characterized using in‐situ ion channeling, ex‐situ X‐ray diffraction, and helium ion microscopy. Compared to monocrystalline 3C–SiC, a faster amorphization process in the nanocrystalline material (average grain size = 3.3 nm) is observed at 500 K. However, the nanograin grows with increasing ion fluence at 550 K and the grain size tends to saturate at high fluences. The striking contrast demonstrates a sharp transition from irradiation‐induced interface‐driven amorphization at 500 K to crystallization at 550 K. The results could potentially have a positive impact on nuclear fuel cladding and structural components of next‐generation nuclear energy systems.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-12-01

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