Publications / Journal Article

Characterization of radiation damage in TiO2 using molecular dynamics simulations

Cowen, Benjamin J.; El-Genk, Mohamed S.

Molecular dynamics simulations are carried out to characterize irradiation effects in TiO2 rutile, for wide ranges of temperatures (300-900 K) and primary knock-on atom (PKA) energies (1-10 keV). The number of residual defects decreases with increased temperature and decreased PKA energy, but is independent of PKA type. In the ballistic phase, more oxygen than titanium defects are produced, however, the primary residual defects are titanium vacancies and interstitials. Defect clustering depends on the PKA energy, temperature, and defect production. For some 10 keV PKAs, the largest cluster of vacancies at the peak of the ballistic phase and after annealing has up to ≈1200 and 100 vacancies, respectively. For the 10 keV PKAs at 300 K, the energy storage, primarily in residual Ti vacancies and interstitials, is estimated at 140-310 eV. It decreases with increased temperature to as little as 5-180 eV at 900 K. Selected area electron diffraction patterns and radial distribution functions confirm that although localized amorphous regions form during the ballistic phase, TiO2 regains full crystallinity after annealing.