Enhanced radiation tolerance of tungsten nanoparticles to He ion irradiation

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Materials exposed to plasmas in magnetic confinement nuclear reactors will accumulate radiation-induced defects and energetically implanted gas atoms (from the plasma and transmutations) of which insoluble helium (He) is likely to be the most problematic. The large surface-area-to-volume ratio exhibited by nanoporous materials provides an unsaturable sink with the potential to continuously removes both point defects and He. This property enhances the possibilities for these materials to be tailored for high radiation-damage resistance. In order to explore the potential effect of this on the individual ligaments of nanoporous materials, we present results on the response of tungsten (W) nanoparticles (NPs) to 15 keV He ion irradiation. Tungsten foils and various sizes of NPs were ion irradiated concurrently and imaged in-situ via transmission electron microscopy at 750°C. Helium bubbles were not observed in NPs with diameters less than 20 nm but did form in larger NPs and the foils. No dislocation loops or black spot damage were observed in any NPs up to 100 nm in diameter but these were found to accumulate in the W foils. These results indicate that a nanoporous material, particularly one made up of ligaments with characteristic dimensions of 30 nm or less, is likely to exhibit significant resistance to He accumulation and structural damage and therefore be highly radiation tolerant.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1052
Issue number12
Early online date14 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • plasma-facing materials
  • nanoporous materials
  • tungsten nanoparticles
  • radiation tolerence
  • in-situ TEM
  • helium bubbles


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