Grain growth and phase stability of nanocrystalline cubic zirconia under ion irradiation

Yanwen Zhang, Weilin Jiang, Chongmin Wang, Fereydoon Namavar, Philip D. Edmondson, Zihua Zhu, Fei Gao, Jie Lian, William J. Weber

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110 Scopus citations


Grain growth, oxygen stoichiometry, and phase stability of nanostructurally stabilized cubic zirconia (NSZ) are investigated under 2 MeV Au-ion bombardment at 160 and 400 K to doses up to 35 displacements per atom (dpa). The NSZ films are produced by ion-beam-assisted deposition technique at room temperature with an average grain size of 7.7 nm. The grain size increases with irradiation dose to ∼30nm at ∼35dpa. Slower grain growth is observed under 400 K irradiations, as compared to 160 K irradiations, indicating that the grain growth is not thermally activated and irradiation-induced grain growth is the dominating mechanism. While the cubic structure is retained and no new phases are identified after the high-dose irradiations, oxygen reduction in the irradiated NSZ films is detected. The ratio of O to Zr decreases from ∼2.0 for the as-deposited films to ∼1.65 after irradiation to ∼35dpa. The loss of oxygen suggests a significant increase in oxygen vacancies in nanocrystalline zirconia under ion irradiation. The oxygen deficiency may be essential in stabilizing the cubic phase to larger grain sizes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number184105
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number18
StatePublished - Nov 10 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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