Self healing of early stage radiation damage by site selective solute segregation is a promising approach to extend the lifetime of nuclear reactor components. In the present study, the creation and autonomous healing of irradiation-induced damage is investigated in pure Fe and high purity Fe–Au and Fe–Cu model alloys. To create radiation damage samples are irradiated at 550 °C by 120 keV He+ ions with fluences of 5.0 × 1015, 1.0 × 1016 and 5.0 × 1016 ions/cm2. The observed increase in the S and W parameters determined in the variable energy positron annihilation spectroscopy measurements indicates the formation of vacancy-like defects, precipitates and vacancy-solute complexes. The presence of substitutionally dissolved Au is found to reduce the formation of radiation defects more efficiently than solute Cu. Site-specific Au precipitation at defect sites is indicated, which results in damage healing with a reduced swelling, whereas Cu precipitates and radiation damage only show weak interaction. Ab initio calculations show that the binding energies of Au solutes to vacancy clusters (Au-Vn) are significantly larger than those of Cu solutes (Cu-Vn) whereas the binding energies of helium filled vacancy clusters Au-HenVn and Cu-HenVn are comparable.
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- Ab initio calculations
- Au/Cu precipitation
- bcc Fe
- Positron annihilation spectroscopy
- Radiation-induced defects