Growth mechanism of subsurface hydrogen cavities in tungsten exposed to low-energy high-flux hydrogen plasma

Wanqi Chen, X. Y. Wang, Yu-Lung Chiu, T.W. Morgan, W.G. Guo, K.L. Li, Y. Yuan, B. Xu, W. Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
183 Downloads (Pure)


Due to a lack of direct experimental results, the detailed mechanisms that govern the blistering behavior of tungsten (W) exposed to ITER-relevant condition in nuclear fusion remain unclear. The growth mechanism of hydrogen (H) blisters is one example. In this work, recrystallized W was exposed to H plasma at 50 eV, 1.5×10 26m −2, and 573 K. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) samples were prepared using plasma-focused ion beam (FIB) followed by flash-polishing to effectively remove surface damages induced by FIB. The TEM images revealed that the general blisters observed on the exposed surface are associated with underlying cavities. A considerable amount of dislocations were found in the vicinity of the cavities. Prismatic dislocation loop arrays were observed, including small size 'coffee-bean' prismatic loops and large size prismatic loops. Near the tip of surfaces cavities, evidences for the emission of shear loops were also found. Based on the experimental findings, a multi-stage growth mechanism of H cavities was proposed. The loop-punching mechanism is operative for both very small cavities and cavities with sizes larger than several hundreds of nanometers. Whereas at intermediate sizes, cavities grow by emitting shear loops from the cavity tip.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-27
Number of pages9
JournalActa Materialia
Early online date6 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2020


  • Blistering behavior
  • H plasma
  • Loop punching
  • Shear loop emission
  • Tungsten

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


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