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Molecular dynamics investigation of threshold displacement energies in CaF2

Morris, J.; Cowen, Benjamin J.; Teysseyre, S.; Hecht, A.A.

Understanding the propagation of radiation damage in a material is paramount to predicting the material damage effects. To date, no current literature has investigated the Threshold Displacement Energy (TDE) of Ca and F atoms in CaF2 through molecular dynamics and simulated statistical analysis. A set of interatomic potentials between Ca-Ca, F-F, and F-Ca were splined, fully characterizing a pure CaF2 simulation cell, by using published Born-Mayer-Huggins, standard ZBL, and Coulomb potentials, with a resulting structure within 1% of standard density and published lattice constants. Using this simulation cell, molecular dynamics simulations were performed with LAMMPS using a simulation that randomly generated 500 Ca and F PKA directions for each incremental set of energies, and a simulation in each of the [1 0 0], [1 1 0], and [1 1 1] directions with 500 trials for each incremental energy. MD simulations of radiation damage in CaF2 are carried out using F and Ca PKAs, with energies ranging from 2 to 200 eV. Probabilistic determinations of the TDE and Threshold Vacancy Energy (TVE) of Ca and F atoms in CaF2 were performed, as well as examining vacancy, interstitial, and antisite production rates over the range of PKA energies. Many more F atoms were displaced from both PKA species, and though F recombination appears more probable than Ca recombination, F vacancy numbers are higher. The higher number of F vacancies than Ca vacancies suggests F Frenkel pairs dominate CaF2 damage.