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The behaviour and diffusion mechanisms of helium in nuclear ceramics, such as uranium dioxide spent fuel matrix and zirconolite for the specific conditioning of minor actinides, significantly impact the possible evolution of those matrices in interim storage or disposal conditions. In the framework of spent fuel storage studies, the additional diffusion of gas and fission products in uranium dioxidematrix is also an essential aspect of the R&D. Specific experimental studies have been conducted, devoted to thermal diffusion under 1000 C. Data processing methods, lead to helium diffusion coefficient and associated activation energy of 1.05 eV in the zirconolite and 2 eV in UO2. Comparativelywith the uranium dioxide matrix, the helium diffusion coefficient in zirconolite is 1 to 100 million times higher; this parameter will have to be taken into account to dimension the waste form. Diffusion coefficients measurements between 800 C and 1000 C, investigated by SIMS, showed a very slow diffusion of volatile fission products Xe, I, Te and Cs, with coefficients two or three order of magnitude lower than for helium.
Photoresistant laser dyes were trapped in silica based xerogel host matrices to obtain solid state tunable lasers. For this purpose very dense xerogel samples with improved chemical and physical properties were prepared at room temperature by the sol-gel technology. The as-prepared materials were polished to obtain optical quality surfaces and were used as new lasing media.
Lasing action of such different dyes as rhodamine, perylene and pyrromethene doping dense sol-gel matrices was demonstrated. Efficiencies of 30 % or lifetimes of more than 100,000 shots were achieved with different new ≤dye dopant/host matrix≥ couples. Their different performances are reviewed and discussed.
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