Achieving exceptional radiation tolerance with crystalline-amorphous nanocrystalline structures

Miaomiao Jin, Penghui Cao, Michael P. Short

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Nanostructured materials with amorphous intergranular films (AIFs) have demonstrated superior strength and ductility. Their radiation tolerance is expected to be high as the large fraction of interfacial volume efficiently sinks radiation-induced defects. Here we demonstrate how a crystalline-amorphous system (nanocrystalline Cu with Zr-doped AIFs) responds to continuous irradiation with molecular dynamics simulations. We propose a diffusion model that well characterizes the cascade-driven mixing process, and reveal that the spread of Zr distribution scales linearly with the damage level. The exceptional radiation resistance is attributed to the interfaces acting as sustainable defect sinks, Zr mixing into the bulk to enhance local defect annihilation due to solute-interstitial dragging, and Zr impeding radiation-enhanced grain growth by restraining AIFs from migration and maintaining interface stiffness. These findings suggest that AIF-engineered systems hold promise as highly radiation-tolerant materials with strong structural stability and self-healing capability under radiation damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-596
Number of pages10
JournalActa Materialia
StatePublished - Mar 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


Dive into the research topics of 'Achieving exceptional radiation tolerance with crystalline-amorphous nanocrystalline structures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this