Radiation tolerance of piezoelectric bulk single-crystal aluminum nitride

David Parks, Bernhard Tittmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


For practical use in harsh radiation environments, we pose selection criteria for piezoelectric materials for non-destructive evaluation (NDE) and material characterization. Using these criteria, piezoelectric aluminum nitride is shown to be an excellent candidate. The results of tests on an aluminum-nitride-based transducer operating in a nuclear reactor are also presented. We demonstrate the tolerance of single-crystal piezoelectric aluminum nitride after fast and thermal neutron fluences of 1.85 x 1018 neutron/cm2 and 5.8 x 1018 neutron/cm2, respectively, and a gamma dose of 26.8 MGy. The radiation hardness of AlN is most evident from the unaltered piezoelectric coefficient d33, which measured 5.5 pC/N after a fast and thermal neutron exposure in a nuclear reactor core for over 120 MWh, in agreement with the published literature value. The results offer potential for improving reactor safety and furthering the understanding of radiation effects on materials by enabling structural health monitoring and NDE in spite of the high levels of radiation and high temperatures, which are known to destroy typical commercial ultrasonic transducers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6838816
Pages (from-to)1216-1222
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE transactions on ultrasonics, ferroelectrics, and frequency control
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Radiation tolerance of piezoelectric bulk single-crystal aluminum nitride'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this