Structural effects in UO2 thin films irradiated with fission-energy Xe ions

Aleksej Popel, Lebedev V.A., Peter Martin, Shiryaev A.A., G.I. Lampronti, Ross Springell, Stepan N. Kalmykov, Tom Scott, I. Monnet, C. Grygiel, Ian Farnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Uranium dioxide thin films have been successfully grown on LSAT (Al10La3O51Sr14Ta7) substrates by reactive magnetron sputtering. Irradiation by 92 MeV 129Xe23+ ions to simulate fission damage that occurs within nuclear fuels caused microstructural and crystallographic changes. Initially flat and continuous thin films were produced by magnetron sputtering with a root mean square roughness of 0.35 nm determined by AFM. After irradiation, this roughness increased to 60–70 nm, with the films developing discrete microstructural features: small grains (∼3 μm), along with larger circular (up to 40 μm) and linear formations with non-uniform composition according to the SEM, AFM and EDX results. The irradiation caused significant restructuring of the UO2 films that was manifested in significant film-substrate mixing, observed through EDX analysis. Diffusion of Al from the substrate into the film in unirradiated samples was also observed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-217
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
Early online date12 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2016


  • UO2
  • Ion irradiation
  • Microstructure
  • Thin films
  • Radiation damage


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