Depth-resolved thermal conductivity and damage in swift heavy ion irradiated metal oxides

Azat Abdullaev, Ainur Koshkinbayeva, Vinay Chauhan, Zhangatay Nurekeyev, Jacques O'Connell, Arno Janse van Vuuren, Vladimir Skuratov, Marat Khafizov, Zhandos N. Utegulov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated thermal transport in swift heavy ion (SHI) irradiated insulating single crystalline oxide materials: yttrium aluminum garnet- Y3Al5O12 (YAG), sapphire (Al2O3), zinc oxide (ZnO) and magnesium oxide (MgO) irradiated by 167 MeV Xe ions at 1012 – 1014 ions/cm2 fluences. Depth profiling of the thermal transport on nano- and micro- meter scales was assessed by time-domain thermoreflectance (TDTR) and modulated thermoreflectance (MTR) methods, respectively. This combination allowed us to isolate the conductivities of different sub-surface damage-regions characterized by their distinct microstructure evolution regimes. Thermal conductivity degradation in SHI irradiated YAG and Al2O3 is attributed to formation of ion tracks and subsequent amorphization, while in ZnO and MgO it is mostly due to point defects. Additionally, notably lower conductivity when probed by very low penetrating thermal waves is consistent with surface hillock formation. An analytical model based on Klemens-Callaway method for thermal conductivity coupled with a simplified microstructure evolution capturing saturation in defect concentration was used to obtain depth dependent damage across the ion impacted region. The studies showed that YAG has the highest damage profile resulting in the less dependence of thermal conductivity with the depth, while MgO on the contrary has the strongest dependence. The presented work sheds new light on how SHI induced defects affect thermal transport degradation and recovery of oxide ceramics as promising candidates for next generation nuclear reactor applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number153563
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2022


  • Amorphization
  • Ion tracks
  • Metal oxides
  • Phonon scattering
  • Swift heavy ions
  • Thermal transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • General Materials Science
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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