Laboratory experiments have been used to investigate the fundamental interactions responsible for deuterium retention in lithiated graphite. Oxygen was found to be present and play a key role in experiments that simulated NSTX lithium conditioning, where the atomic surface concentration can increase to >40% when deuterium retention chemistry is observed. Quantum-classical molecular dynamic simulations elucidated this oxygen-deuterium effect and showed that oxygen retains significantly more deuterium than lithium in a simulated matrix with 20% lithium, 20% oxygen, and 60% carbon. Simulations further show that deuterium retention is even higher when lithium is removed from the matrix. Experiments artificially increased the oxygen content in graphite to ∼16% and then bombarded with deuterium. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy showed depletion of the oxygen and no enhanced deuterium retention, thus demonstrating that lithium is essential in retaining the oxygen that thereby retains deuterium.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics