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Title: Irradiation-induced β to α SiC transformation at low temperature

Here, we observed that β-SiC, neutron irradiated to 9 dpa (displacements per atom) at ≈1440 °C, began transforming to α-SiC, with radiation-induced Frank dislocation loops serving as the apparent nucleation sites. 1440 °C is a far lower temperature than usual β → α phase transformations in SiC. SiC is considered for applications in advanced nuclear systems, as well as for electronic or spintronic applications requiring ion irradiation processing. β-SiC, preferred for nuclear applications, is metastable and undergoes a phase transformation at high temperatures (typically 2000 °C and above). Nuclear reactor concepts are not expected to reach the very high temperatures for thermal transformation. However, our results indicate incipient β → α phase transformation, in the form of small (~5–10 nm) pockets of α-SiC forming in the β matrix. In service transformation could degrade structural stability and fuel integrity for SiC-based materials operated in this regime. However, engineering this transformation deliberately using ion irradiation could enable new electronic applications.
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Kyoto Univ., Kyoto (Japan)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Nuclear Science User Facility (NSUF)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; ceramics; electronic devices; nuclear fusion and fission
OSTI Identifier: