Atomistic Scale Study of Radiation Effects in ABO3 Perovskites

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Materials


The development of nuclear power is at an important juncture, with two competing but in many ways complementary technologies: fusion and fission. However, while the nuclear methodology is different the engineering challenge is the same, that is, the need to remove the generated heat while structures are subject to high levels of radiation damage and residual nuclear products. In particular, radiation damage effects and gas bubble formation are problematic issues for the development of both fusion and GenIV fission reactors. For example in a GenIV fission core, the Xe and Kr gas comes from fission of the fissile nuclei, that is, Pu and U, while in a fusion core He is formed within the D-T plasma. This proposal aims to address these issues using tunable perovskites, as model materials, and focusing on the following issues:

1. Crystalline to amorphous transformation mechanisms in tunable ceramics instigated using non-radioactive ion beams.
2. Bubble nucleation at micro-structural traps in predominantly fission reactor materials, e.g. oxide based fuels, and ODS materials, but which can be formed by He implantation from fusion plasma He nucleation, and damage in materials for use in fusion cores, such as YBCO superconductors suggested as magnetic containment in for example, ITER and DEMO.

The research will be undertaken using the approach of experimental and simulation techniques combined holistically. The experimental study will utilise in-situ and bulk irradiation, primarily in combination with advanced electron microscopy and atom probe tomography. The complementary simulation programme will be based on irradiated materials, but focusing on recovery mechanisms, bubble evolution, and validation of current models.

The outcomes of the research will be used in the development of new materials for use as both fuels, for example Inert Matrix, or as magnetic containment devices in ITER/DEMO. The information from this research can also be utilised in other non-standard reactor technologies such as the travelling wave designs.

The information derived will also help the design of future waste forms for Pu/U, specifically into new phases capable of tolerating the effects of radiation damage, and He bubble formation.


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Chernatynskiy A (2016) Elastic and thermal properties of hexagonal perovskites in Computational Materials Science

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Fossati P (2017) Cation ordering and oxygen transport behaviour in Sr 1-3x/2 La x TiO 3 perovskites in Journal of Materials Chemistry A

Description Perovskites are used in a variety of industrial applications, from electrochemical devices such as fuel cells to electronic materials such as capacitors. In all cases function depends upon composition with small changes in composition changing the efficiency of the material greatly. Our contribution to this project has been to identified structural changes associated with a series of compositions, showing that structures can change dramatically across such a series.
Exploitation Route We have identified particular structures and a general approach to addressing the problem of structural series. This can be used by others interested in linking composition to properties.
Sectors Energy