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The first demonstration of laser action in ruby was made in 1960 by T. H. Maiman of Hughes Research Laboratories, USA. Many laboratories worldwide began the search for lasers using different materials, operating at different wavelengths. In the UK, academia, industry and the central laboratories took up the challenge from the earliest days to develop these systems for a broad range of applications. This historical review looks at the contribution the UK has made to the advancement of the technology, the development of systems and components and their exploitation over the last 60 years.
Ni-based fcc alloys are frequently used as critical structural materials in nuclear energy applications. Despite extensive studies, fundamental questions remain regarding point defect migration and solute segregation as a function of grain boundary character after irradiation. In this study, a coupled experimental and modeling approach is used to understand the response of grain boundary character in a model Ni–5Cr alloy after high temperature heavy-ion irradiation. Radiation-induced segregation and void denuded zones were experimentally examined as a function of grain boundary character, while a kinetic rate theory model with grain boundary character boundary conditions was used to theoretically model Cr depletion in the alloy system. The results highlight major variations in the radiation response between the coherent and incoherent twin grain boundaries, but show limited disparity in defect sink strength between random low- and high-angle grain boundary regimes.
X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) is a sensitive probe of the electronic structure, and can provide information about the valency, the unoccupied electronic states and the effective charge of the absorbing atom. In this paper, near edge x-ray absorption fine structure spectra are reported at the L3, M5 and N5 thresholds and used to determined structural and electronic properties of U(VI) within uranyl nitrate (UO2(NO3)2.6H2O) and perovskite (Ba2ZnUO6). Experimental data analysis by simulating the absorption edge allows to compare the coordination polyhedrons, identify the electronic transitions and calculate the density of states associated with the absorption spectra. Moreover, a coupling between simulations of the experimental spectra and quantum chemical calculations is performed, in order to improve the model describing the final states and better understand the bonding properties of the cation with the ligand.
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