A thermal spike model of grain growth under irradiation

D. Kaoumi, A. T. Motta, R. C. Birtcher

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The experimental study of grain growth in nanocrystalline metallic foils under ion irradiation showed the existence of a low-temperature regime (below about 0.15-0.22 Tm), where grain growth is independent of the irradiation temperature, and a thermally assisted regime where grain growth is enhanced with increasing irradiation temperature. A model is proposed to describe grain growth under irradiation in the temperature-independent regime, based on the direct impact of the thermal spikes on grain boundaries. In the model, grain-boundary migration occurs by atomic jumps, within the thermal spikes, biased by the local grain-boundary curvature driving. The jumps in the spike are calculated based on Vineyard's analysis of thermal spikes and activated processes using a spherical geometry for the spike. The model incorporates cascade structure features such as subcascade formation, and the probability of subcascades occurring at grain boundaries. This results in a power law expression relating the average grain size with the ion dose with an exponent equal to 3, in agreement with the experimental observations. The model is applied to grain growth observed in situ in a transmission electron microscope in a wide range of doses, temperature, and irradiation conditions for four different pure metals, and shown to predict well the results in all applicable cases. Some discussions are also presented on the expansion of the model to the thermally assisted regime. The paper is organized in six sections. Section gives background and literature review, while Secs. review experimental methods and results for in situ grain growth under irradiation. Section derives the model proposed to find the grain-growth equation in the nonthermal regime, and in Sec. the model is applied to the results. In Sec. grain growth in the thermally assisted regime is discussed and Sec. presents the conclusions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number073525
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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