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PhD student contract - Combined effects of irradiation and gas injection on the microstructural evolution of nuclear ceramics

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General information

Reference : UMR9012-REJBOD-015
Workplace : ORSAY
Date of publication : Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Scientific Responsible name : Stéphanie JUBLOT-LECLERC
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 October 2020
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

Materials for future nuclear reactors (Gen IV fission and fusion) will be submitted to extreme conditions: neutron irradiation, gas presence, high to very high temperatures. The damage induced by neutron irradiation is usually experimentally simulated by using ion beams. These latter have an advantage of a lower cost compared to nuclear research reactors. In addition, the material is not activated and significant results can be obtained over a short period of time. Questions however remain as to whether the damage induced by ionic irradiations is representative of neutron irradiation-induced damage.
This PhD project aims at fundamentally studying the behavior of nuclear ceramics under ion irradiation to understand at the atomic-scale the mechanisms responsible for the degradation of the material. The materials considered in this study will be monocrystalline model materials (AlN, SiC …). These ceramics could possibly be used as coatings for structural materials, fuel cladding, or inert matrices. In this instance, they will be submitted in the reactor to an intense flux of neutrons and to an accumulation of gas that could lead to swelling and/or cracking.
The combined influence of ion irradiation effects and gas injection on the evolution of the material microstructure will be more particularly studied as a function of temperature and flux. The microstructural evolution will be experimentally characterized thanks to a combination of advanced techniques, notably on the JANNuS-SCALP facility at Orsay: TEM, XRD, ion beam analysis, … ex situ and/or in situ with single and dual ion beams.
The obtained results will be compared to the results of the literature on neutron-irradiated ceramics. This fundamental study will enable to better understand the basic mechanisms responsible for the damage induced by irradiation of these ceramics in reactor, as well as make progress on the issue of the representativeness of ions to simulate neutrons.

Work Context

Located on the campus of the Faculté des Sciences d'Orsay, the Physics Laboratory of the 2 infinites Irène Joliot-Curie -IJCLab - a joint research unit of the CNRS, the University of Paris-Saclay and the University of Paris, which includes about 750 people, is structured around the research poles of fundamental physics, from nuclear physics to astrophysics, cosmology, high-energy physics, the physics of accelerators and their applications (health, energy). The PhD student will be a member of the CHIMèNE team (Chemistry, Irradiation, Materials, Modelling, Electrochemistry, for Nuclear energy and Environment) in the Energy and Environment pole, and will work on the JANNuS-SCALP platform in Orsay.

Additional Information

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