Design of radiation resistant metallic multilayers for advanced nuclear systems
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Helium implantation from transmutation reactions is a major cause of embrittlement and dimensional instability of structural components in nuclear energy systems. Development of novel materials with improved radiation resistance, which is of the utmost importance for progress in nuclear energy, requires guidelines to arrive at favorable parameters more efficiently. Here, we present a methodology that can be used for the design of radiation tolerant materials. We used synchrotron X-ray reflectivity to nondestructively study radiation effects at buried interfaces and measure swelling induced by He implantation in Cu/Nb multilayers. The results, supported by transmission electron microscopy, show a direct correlation between reduced swelling in nanoscale multilayers and increased interface area per unit volume, consistent with helium storage in Cu/Nb interfaces in forms that minimize dimensional changes. In addition, for Cu/Nb layers, a linear relationship is demonstrated between the measured depth-dependent swelling and implanted He density from simulations, making the reflectivity technique a powerful tool for heuristic material design. 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.