Vacancy and interstitial interactions with crystal/amorphous, metal/covalent interfaces

SS Navale and MJ Demkowicz, JOURNAL OF NUCLEAR MATERIALS, 539, 152329 (2020).

DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2020.152329

We use atomistic simulations to investigate the interaction of vacancies and interstitials with interfaces between a crystalline metal and an amorphous, covalently-bonded solid. We select the gold (Au)/silicon (Si) binary system as a model material and construct interface models along two different facets of crystalline Au and with amorphous Si (a-Si) created at three different quench rates. We compute formation energies of vacancies, self-interstitials, and interstitial impurities as a function of position relative to the interface and find that they have markedly lower values near the interface than in the interior of the adjoining phases. We conclude that crystal/amorphous, metal/covalent interfaces may be as effective at removing radiation-induced point defects as interfaces in polycrystalline metals composites. Moreover, irrespective of interface character, the average formation energies of all point defects at all the Au/a-Si interfaces we investigated are comparable. Thus, unlike in polycrystalline metals, where an interface's crystallographic character has a marked effect on its interactions with point defects, all interface types in crystal/amorphous, metal/covalent composites may be equally effective at absorbing all radiation-induced defects. (c) 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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