Early stage damage of ultrafine-grained tungsten materials exposed to low energy helium ion irradiation

O. El-Atwani, S. Gonderman, S. Suslov, M. Efe, G. De Temmerman, T. Morgan, K. Bystrov, K. Hattar, J. P. Allain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tungsten is considered as a plasma facing component in the divertor region of the International Thermonuclear Experiment Reactor (ITER). High flux, high fluence helium (He) exposure of tungsten surfaces induces severe morphology changes and nanostructure formation, which may eventually erode tungsten and risk the operation of the reactor. In this study, we investigate the response of ultrafine-grained tungsten under low flux (∼1020 ions m-2 s-1), low fluence, low energy (30-70 eV) He irradiation at different temperatures in order to study the early stage of nanostructure formation. Rod-shape nanostructures formed at low temperatures (600 °C) and a He fluence of 1 × 1023 m-2. High resolution, cross-section TEM images of irradiated grains demonstrated bubble formation not inside the nanostructures but deep inside the grains. At higher temperatures (900 °C) and the same fluence of 1 × 1023 m-2, large tungsten asperities (stone-shape and fiber-form structures), which are attributed to the burst and erosion of the surface grains. Moreover, low fluence (1020 m-2-1021 m-2) and high temperature (900 °C) irradiation demonstrated low density of non-coalesced bubbles inside the TEM samples. The results suggest that morphology changes can exist in He irradiated tungsten even with low bubble densities; thus, an additional factor such as surface stresses may dictate the observed nanostructure formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-14
Number of pages6
JournalFusion Engineering and Design
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Bubble formation
  • Fusion
  • Irradiation
  • TEM
  • Tungsten

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanical Engineering


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