The influence of lattice defects, recombination, and clustering on thermal transport in single crystal thorium dioxide Academic Article uri icon


  • Thermal transport is a key performance metric for thorium dioxide in many applications where defect-generating radiation fields are present. An understanding of the effect of nanoscale lattice defects on thermal transport in this material is currently unavailable due to the lack of a single crystal material from which unit processes may be investigated. In this work, a series of high-quality thorium dioxide single crystals are exposed to 2 MeV proton irradiation at room temperature and 600 C to create microscale regions with varying densities and types of point and extended defects. Defected regions are investigated using spatial domain thermoreflectance to quantify the change in thermal conductivity as a function of ion fluence as well as transmission electron microscopy and Raman spectroscopy to interrogate the structure of the generated defects. Together, this combination of methods provides important initial insight into defect formation, recombination, and clustering in thorium dioxide and the effect of those defects on thermal transport. These methods also provide a promising pathway for the quantification of the smallest-scale defects that cannot be captured using traditional microscopy techniques and play an outsized role in degrading thermal performance.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Dennett, C. A., Hua, Z., Khanolkar, A., Yao, T., Morgan, P. K., Prusnick, T. A., ... Hurley, D. H.

citation count

  • 32

complete list of authors

  • Dennett, Cody A||Hua, Zilong||Khanolkar, Amey||Yao, Tiankai||Morgan, Phyllis K||Prusnick, Timothy A||Poudel, Narayan||French, Aaron||Gofryk, Krzysztof||He, Lingfeng||Shao, Lin||Khafizov, Marat||Turner, David B||Mann, J Matthew||Hurley, David H

publication date

  • November 2020