Formation of helium-bubble networks in tungsten

L Sandoval and D Perez and BP Uberuaga and AF Voter, ACTA MATERIALIA, 159, 46-50 (2018).

DOI: 10.1016/j.actamat.2018.07.075

The nucleation and subsequent growth of helium bubbles in bulk tungsten is investigated using molecular dynamics simulations. By considering a setting that includes the diffusion process of helium clusters, we study their attachment to existing bubbles and their interaction with tungsten crowdion structures generated in the bubble growth process. We find that incoming helium atoms, and especially small helium clusters, can become trapped in the crowdion structures, providing nucleation sites for new helium bubbles, and leading to a distributed network of bubbles rather than a single, growing bubble. The nature of this network depends on both the temperature and the implantation flux of helium. Our results indicate that the kinetic interaction of He with generated dislocations is a key factor dictating the evolution of bubble distributions in plasma-exposed tungsten. (C) 2018 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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