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Surface Pore Formation in Helium Implanted Fine-Grain Tungsten and Tungsten Needles as Engineered First Wall and Divertor Plate Materials

Samuel J. Zenobia, Lauren M. Garrison, Gerald L. Kulcinski

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 60 / Number 1 / Pages 344-348

July 2011


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Surface morphology changes of sub-micron tipped tungsten needles (W.N.) and an engineered fine-grain tungsten (FGW) were studied after implantation with He ions at reactor relevant conditions. Surface and subsurface pore formation was observed on all of the samples by using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and focused ion beam (FIB) milling. Additionally, helium retention analysis was performed on the FGW and compared to several previously studied W materials.

Three samples of FGW were irradiated with 30 keV 3He ions to 3×1017 He+/cm2 at 700 °C, 9×1017 He+/cm2 at 850 °C, and 1×1019 He+/cm2 at 1050 °C. SEM analysis revealed that the threshold for visible pore formation was below ~1018 He+/cm2. The sample irradiated to the highest fluence showed “coral-like” morphology on the surface, and FIB analysis showed that the sub-surface semi-porous layer extended almost one micron below the surface. The percentage of implanted helium retained in the samples ranged from 4.5-40%.

Two W.N. were implanted with 100 keV 4He ions to conditions of 3×1018 He+/cm2 at 700 °C and 1.3x1019 He+/cm2 at 1000 °C. Extensive pore formation was observed on both specimens. FIB analysis revealed that a sub-surface semi-porous layer developed after ion implantation that extended ~300 nm in the W.N. implanted to the lower dose, and over 1500 nm in the needle implanted to the higher dose. This second needle also exhibited a drastic morphology change, which appears to be a result of the unraveling of the grains at the tip.

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