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Historically, alloy development with better radiation performance has been focused on traditional alloys with one or two principal element(s) and minor alloying elements, where enhanced radiation resistance depends on microstructural or nanoscale features to mitigate displacement damage. In sharp contrast to traditional alloys, recent advances of single-phase concentrated solid solution alloys (SP-CSAs) have opened up new frontiers in materials research. In these alloys, a random arrangement of multiple elemental species on a crystalline lattice results in disordered local chemical environments and unique site-to-site lattice distortions. Based on closely integrated computational and experimental studies using a novel set of SP-CSAs in a face-centered cubic structure, we have explicitly demonstrated that increasing chemical disorder can lead to a substantial reduction in electron mean free paths, as well as electrical and thermal conductivity, which results in slower heat dissipation in SP-CSAs. The chemical disorder also has a significant impact on defect evolution under ion irradiation. Considerable improvement in radiation resistance is observed with increasing chemical disorder at electronic and atomic levels. The insights into defect dynamics may provide a basis for understanding elemental effects on evolution of radiation damage in irradiated materials and may inspire new design principles of radiation-tolerant structural alloys for advanced energy systems.
In the past decade, the research in designing fast oxygen conducting materials for electrochemical applications has largely shifted to microstructural features, in contrast to material-bulk. In particular, understanding oxygen energetics in heterointerface materials is currently at the forefront, where interfacial tensile strain is being considered as the key parameter in lowering oxygen migration barriers. Nanocrystalline materials with high densities of grain boundaries have also gathered interest that could possibly allow leverage over excess volume at grain boundaries, providing fast oxygen diffusion channels similar to those previously observed in metals. In addition, near-interface phase transformations and misfit dislocations are other microstructural phenomenon/features that are being explored to provide faster diffusion. In this review, the current understanding on oxygen energetics, i.e., thermodynamics and kinetics, originating from these microstructural features is discussed. Experimental observations, theoretical predictions and novel atomistic mechanisms relevant to oxygen transport are highlighted. In addition, the interaction of dopants with oxygen vacancies in the presence of these new microstructural features, and their future role in the design of future fast-ion conductors, is outlined.
In the present article, the intermixing and clustering of U/Nd, O, and vacancies were studied by both laboratory and synchrotron-based x-ray diffraction in U1−yNdyO2−x alloys. It was found that an increased holding time at the high experimental temperature during initial alloy preparation results in a lower disorder of the Nd distribution in the alloys. Adjustment of the oxygen concentration in the U1−yNdyO2−x alloys with different Nd concentrations was accompanied by the formation of vacancies on the oxygen sublattice and a nanocrystalline component. The lattice parameters in the U1−yNdyO2−x alloys were also found to deviate significantly from Vegard's law when the Nd concentration was high (53%) and decreased with increasing oxygen concentration. Such changes indicate the formation of large vacancy concentrations during oxygen adjustment at these high temperatures. The change in the vacancy concentration after the oxygen adjustment was estimated relative to Nd concentration and oxygen stoichiometry.
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