Channelling investigation of the behaviour of urania under low-energy ion irradiation

Abstract : This thesis is dedicated to the investigation of the structural destabilisation of UO2 single crystal. Irradiations with 470-keV Xe, 500-keV Ce and 500-keV La ions (with corresponding ion range of Rp 85 nm and range straggling of Delta Rp _ 40 nm according to SRIM calculation) have been performed to investigate the destabilisation of UO2 single crystals induce by (i) the radiation damage effects due to the nuclear stopping process of a fission fragment at the end of their trajectories (ballistic contribution) and by (ii) the incorporation of a fission product at high concentration (chemical contribution). The energies and masses of bombarding ions were deliberately chosen so that they would have very similar projected range in UO2 in order to compare the effects induced by solubles (La and Ce) versus non soluble Xe species in UO2. Rutherford Backscattering Spectrometry in channelling geometry (RBS/C) was applied to study the defects induced. Channelling data were analysed afterwards by Monte-Carlo simulation with McChasy code assuming a two-class model of defects comprising (i) the randomly displaced atoms (RDA) and the bent channels (BC) defects. The accumulation of RDA with increasing ion fluence leads to a steep increase (build-up of defects) observed from 4 to 7 dpa regardless of nature of ions and a dramatic increase observed from 300 dpa (corresponding to _ 5 at. % of implanted ions) only for Xe irradiated crystal. The difference due to the soluble versus insoluble species was clearly observed. Such a difference was observed via the dramatic increase of RDA when the crystal is implanted at very high concentration only for crystal implanted with insoluble species. Moreover, the difference is also observed via the higher fraction of RDA created in the crystal irradiated with insoluble element. This phenomenon is mostly due to the size of implanted species in the matrix. Insoluble Xe atoms have the atomic radius which is larger than twice the atomic radius of U sub-lattice while soluble La and Ce atoms have the atomic radii of similar size as compared to U atom. Xe creates a much stronger stress field in UO2 crystal in comparison to La or Ce; a higher fraction of RDA is thus created. Conversely, the accumulation of BC with increasing ion fluence leads to very similar evolution versus ion fluence in all crystals implanted with the three elements .
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Tien Hien Nguyen. Channelling investigation of the behaviour of urania under low-energy ion irradiation. Other [cond-mat.other]. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI, 2013. English. ⟨NNT : 2013PA112307⟩. ⟨tel-00966967⟩

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