Irradiation-induced formation of nanocrystallites with C15 laves phase structure in bcc iron

  • Marinica M
  • Willaime F
  • Crocombette J
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A three-dimensional periodic structure is proposed for self-interstitial clusters in body-centered-cubic metals, as opposed to the conventional two-dimensional loop morphology. The underlying crystal structure corresponds to the C15 Laves phase. Using density functional theory and interatomic potential calculations, we demonstrate that in α-iron these C15 aggregates are highly stable and immobile and that they exhibit large antiferromagnetic moments. They form directly in displacement cascades, and they can grow by capturing self-interstitials. They thus constitute an important new element to account for when predicting the microstructural evolution of iron base materials under irradiation.

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