Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Superior radiation tolerance via reversible disordering–ordering transition of coherent superlattices

Abstract

Materials capable of sustaining high radiation doses at a high temperature are required for next-generation fission and future fusion energy. To date, however, even the most promising structural materials cannot withstand the demanded radiation environment due to irreversible radiation-driven microstructure degradation. Here we report a counterintuitive strategy to achieve exceptionally high radiation tolerance at high temperatures by enabling reversible local disordering–ordering transition of the introduced superlattice nanoprecipitates in metallic materials. As particularly demonstrated in martensitic steel containing a high density of B2-ordered superlattices, no void swelling was detected even after ultrahigh-dose radiation damage at 400–600 °C. The reordering process of the low-misfit superlattices in highly supersaturated matrices occurs through the short-range reshuffling of radiation-induced point defects and excess solutes right after rapid, ballistic disordering. This dynamic process stabilizes the microstructure, continuously promotes in situ defect recombination and efficiently prevents the capillary-driven long-range diffusion process. The strategy can be readily applied into other materials and pave the pathway for developing materials with high radiation tolerance.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Superior radiation tolerance of superlattice steel containing high-density Ni(Al,Fe) NPs. Comparison of b and c shows that the superlattice steel exhibits much stronger void swelling resistance than 9Cr ODS steel.
Fig. 2: Microstructural evolution of superlattice steel under ion irradiation.
Fig. 3: Mechanism of radiation-induced dissolution of NPs in superlattice steel.
Fig. 4: Fast formation kinetics of NPs during thermal aging.
Fig. 5: Schematic of the disordering and reordering process of NPs in superlattice steel as a function of time.
Fig. 6: Application of current strategy in fcc Fe35.8Ni37.6Cr22.9Ti1.7Al2 (wt.%) MEA.

Data availability

Source data are provided with this paper. All other data needed to evaluate the conclusions in the paper are present in the paper or Supplementary Information.

References

  1. Zinkle, S. J. & Busby, J. T. Structural materials for fission & fusion energy. Mater. Today 12, 12–19 (2009).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Zinkle, S. J. & Was, G. S. Materials challenges in nuclear energy. Acta Mater. 61, 735–758 (2013).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Zinkle, S. J. & Snead, L. L. Designing radiation resistance in materials for fusion energy. Ann. Rev. Mater. Res. 44, 241–267 (2014).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Kenik, E. A. & Busby, J. T. Radiation-induced degradation of stainless steel light water reactor internals. Mater. Sci. Eng. R Rep. 73, 67–83 (2012).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Busby, J. T. Economic benefits of advanced materials in nuclear power systems. J. Nucl. Mater. 392, 301–306 (2009).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Chen, T. et al. Microstructural changes and void swelling of a 12Cr ODS ferritic-martensitic alloy after high-dpa self-ion irradiation. J. Nucl. Mater. 467, 42–49 (2015).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Heald, P. T. The preferential trapping of interstitials at dislocations. Philos. Mag. J. Theor. Exp. Appl. Phys. 31, 551–558 (1975).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Gigax, J. G. et al. Radiation response of alloy T91 at damage levels up to 1000 peak dpa. J. Nucl. Mater. 482, 257–265 (2016).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Ackland, G. Controlling radiation damage. Science 327, 1587–1588 (2010).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Han, W. Z. et al. Design of radiation tolerant materials via interface engineering. Adv. Mater. 25, 6975–6979 (2013).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Field, K. G. et al. Dependence on grain boundary structure of radiation induced segregation in a 9 wt.% Cr model ferritic/martensitic steel. J. Nucl. Mater. 435, 172–180 (2013).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Chen, T. et al. Temperature dependent dispersoid stability in ion-irradiated ferritic-martensitic dual-phase oxide-dispersion-strengthened alloy: coherent interfaces vs. incoherent interfaces. Acta Mater. 116, 29–42 (2016).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Wharry, J. P., Swenson, M. J. & Yano, K. H. A review of the irradiation evolution of dispersed oxide nanoparticles in the b.c.c. Fe-Cr system: current understanding and future directions. J. Nucl. Mater. 486, 11–20 (2017).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Zinkle, S. J. et al. Development of next generation tempered and ODS reduced activation ferritic/martensitic steels for fusion energy applications. Nucl. Fusion 57, 092005 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Yamashita, S., Akasaka, N., Ukai, S. & Ohnuki, S. Microstructural development of a heavily neutron-irradiated ODS ferritic steel (MA957) at elevated temperature. J. Nucl. Mater. 367-370, 202–207 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Boothby, R. M. in Comprehensive Nuclear Materials: Radiation Efects in Nickel-based Alloys Vol. 4 (ed. Konings, R. J. M.) 123–150 (Elsevier, 2012).

  17. Yamashita, S., Oka, K., Ohnuki, S., Akasaka, N. & Ukai, S. Phase stability of oxide dispersion-strengthened ferritic steels in neutron irradiation. J. Nucl. Mater. 307, 283–288 (2002).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Allen, T. R. et al. The stability of 9Cr-ODS oxide particles under heavy-ion irradiation. Nucl. Sci. Eng. 151, 305–312 (2005).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Aydogan, E. et al. Stability of nanosized oxides in ferrite under extremely high dose self ion irradiations. J. Nucl. Mater. 486, 86–95 (2017).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Jiang, S. et al. Ultrastrong steel via minimal lattice misfit and high-density nanoprecipitation. Nature 544, 460–464 (2017).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Chen, Y. R. Irradiation effects of HT-9 martensitic steel. Nucl. Eng. Technol. 45, 311–322 (2013).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Zinkle, S. J. & Snead, L. L. Opportunities and limitations for ion beams in radiation effects studies: bridging critical gaps between charged particle and neutron irradiations. Scr. Mater. 143, 154–160 (2018).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Certain, A., Kuchibhatla, S., Shutthanandan, V., Hoelzer, D. T. & Allen, T. R. Radiation stability of nanoclusters in nano-structured oxide dispersion strengthened (ODS) steels. J. Nucl. Mater. 434, 311–321 (2013).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Lescoat, M. L. et al. Radiation-induced Ostwald ripening in oxide dispersion strengthened ferritic steels irradiated at high ion dose. Acta Mater. 78, 328–340 (2014).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Parish, C. M., White, R. M., LeBeau, J. M. & Miller, M. K. Response of nanostructured ferritic alloys to high-dose heavy ion irradiation. J. Nucl. Mater. 445, 251–260 (2014).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Xu, Q., Watanabe, H. & Yoshida, N. Microstructural evolution in Fe–Cr–Ni alloy irradiated with Ni ion under varying temperature. J. Nucl. Mater. 233, 1057–1061 (1996).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Hunn, J. D., Lee, E. H., Byun, T. S. & Mansur, L. K. Ion-irradiation-induced hardening in Inconel 718. J. Nucl. Mater. 296, 203–209 (2001).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Russell, K. C. Phase instability under cascade damage irradiation. J. Nucl. Mater. 206, 129–138 (1993).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Robino, C. V., Cieslak, M. J., Hochanadel, P. W. & Edwards, G. R. Heat treatment of investment cast PH 13-8 Mo stainless steel: part II. Isothermal aging kinetics. Metall. Mater. Trans. A 25, 697–704 (1994).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Mirzadeh, H. & Najafizadeh, A. Aging kinetics of 17-4 PH stainless steel. Mater. Chem. Phys. 116, 119–124 (2009).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Dimmler, G., Weinert, P., Kozeschnik, E. & Cerjak, H. Quantification of the Laves phase in advanced 9–12% Cr steels using a standard SEM. Mater. Charact. 51, 341–352 (2003).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Monnet, I. et al. Microstructural investigation of the stability under irradiation of oxide dispersion strengthened ferritic steels. J. Nucl. Mater. 335, 311–321 (2004).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  33. He, L., Tan, L., Yang, Y. & Sridharan, K. Evolution of B2 and Laves phases in a ferritic steel under Fe2+ ion irradiation at 475 °C. J. Nucl. Mater. 525, 102–110 (2019).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Ferreirós, P. A., Alonso, P. R. & Rubiolo, G. H. Coarsening process and precipitation hardening in Fe2AlV-strengthened ferritic Fe76Al12V12 alloy. Mater. Sci. Eng. A 684, 394–405 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  35. Sencer, B. H. et al. Microstructural alteration of structural alloys by low temperature irradiation with high energy protons and spallation neutrons. in Symposium on Effects of Radiation on Materials: 20th International Symposium (eds. Rosinski, S. T., Grossbeck, M. L., Allen, T. R. & Kumar, A. S.), ASTM STP 1405, 588–611 (ASTM International, 2001).

  36. Cabet, C., Dalle, F., Gaganidze, E., Henry, J. & Tanigawa, H. Ferritic-martensitic steels for fission and fusion applications. J. Nucl. Mater. 523, 510–537 (2019).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Yeli, G. et al. The stability of γ′ precipitates in a multi-component FeCoNiCrTi0.2 alloy under elevated-temperature irradiation. J. Nucl. Mater. 540, 152364 (2020).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Brinkman, J. A. Production of atomic displacements by high-energy particles. Am. J. Phys. 24, 246–267 (1956).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Yang, T.-n et al. The effect of injected interstitials on void formation in self-ion irradiated nickel containing concentrated solid solution alloys. J. Nucl. Mater. 488, 328–337 (2017).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Yang, T.-n et al. Influence of irradiation temperature on void swelling in NiCoFeCrMn and NiCoFeCrPd. Scr. Mater. 158, 57–61 (2019).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Zhang, Y. et al. Influence of chemical disorder on energy dissipation and defect evolution in concentrated solid solution alloys. Nat. Commun. 6, 8736 (2015).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Sniegowski, J. J. & Wolfer, W. G. On the Physical Basis for the Swelling Resistance of Ferritic Steels (The Metallurgical Society, 1984).

  43. Little, E. A. & Stow, D. A. Void-swelling in irons and ferritic steels: II. An experimental survey of materials irradiated in a fast reactor. J. Nucl. Mater. 87, 25–39 (1979).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Garner, F. A., Toloczko, M. B. & Sencer, B. H. Comparison of swelling and irradiation creep behavior of fcc-austenitic and bcc-ferritic/martensitic alloys at high neutron exposure. J. Nucl. Mater. 276, 123–142 (2000).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Little, E. A., Bullough, R., Wood, M. H. & Marshall, W. C. On the swelling resistance of ferritic steel. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A 372, 565–579 (1980).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Ribis, J. & Leprêtre, F. Interface roughening in irradiated oxide dispersion strengthened steels. Appl. Phys. Lett. 111, 261602 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  47. Kashinath, A., Misra, A. & Demkowicz, M. J. Stable storage of helium in nanoscale platelets at semicoherent interfaces. Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 086101 (2013).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Pickering, E. J. et al. High-entropy alloys for advanced nuclear applications. Entropy 23, 98 (2021).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Zhang, Z., Armstrong, D. E. J. & Grant, P. S. The effects of irradiation on CrMnFeCoNi high-entropy alloy and its derivatives. Prog. Mater. Sci. 123, 100807 (2022).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Zhang, Y., Osetsky, Y. N. & Weber, W. J. Tunable chemical disorder in concentrated alloys: defect physics and radiation performance. Chem. Rev. 122, 789–829 (2022).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Foreman, A. J. E., Von Harrach, H. S. & Saldin, D. K. The TEM contrast of faceted voids. Philos. Mag. A 45, 625–645 (1982).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Toloczko, M. B. et al. Ion-induced swelling of ODS ferritic alloy MA957 tubing to 500 dpa. J. Nucl. Mater. 453, 323–333 (2014).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Shao, L. et al. Effect of defect imbalance on void swelling distributions produced in pure iron irradiated with 3.5 MeV self-ions. J. Nucl. Mater. 453, 176–181 (2014).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Short, M. P., Gaston, D. R., Jin, M., Shao, L. & Garner, F. A. Modeling injected interstitial effects on void swelling in self-ion irradiation experiments. J. Nucl. Mater. 471, 200–207 (2016).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Doyle, P. J., Benensky, K. M. & Zinkle, S. J. Modeling the impact of radiation-enhanced diffusion on implanted ion profiles. J. Nucl. Mater. 509, 168–180 (2018).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Ziegler, J. F., Ziegler, M. D. & Biersack, J. P. SRIM—the stopping and range of ions in matter (2010). Nucl. Instrum. Methods Phys. Res. B: Beam Interact. Mater. At. 268, 1818–1823 (2010).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Stoller, R. E. et al. On the use of SRIM for computing radiation damage exposure. Nucl. Instrum. Methods Phys. Res. B: Beam Interact. Mater. At. 310, 75–80 (2013).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Agarwal, S., Lin, Y., Li, C., Stoller, R. E. & Zinkle, S. J. On the use of SRIM for calculating vacancy production: quick calculation and full-cascade options. Nucl. Instrum. Methods Phys. Res. B: Beam Interact. Mater. At. 503, 11–29 (2021).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Weber, W. J. & Zhang, Y. Predicting damage production in monoatomic and multi-elemental targets using stopping and range of ions in matter code: challenges and recommendations. Curr. Opin. Solid State Mater. Sci. 23, 100757 (2019).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Doyle, P. J., Benensky, K. M. & Zinkle, S. J. A set of MATLAB routines and associated files for prediction of radiation-enhanced diffusion in ion irradiated materials. Data Br. 21, 83–85 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

We sincerely thank S. J. Zinkle, L. Shao, F. A. Garner and F. Gao for the fruitful and valuable discussions. We also thank J. Zhang, Z. J. Zhou, T. D. Shen, K. Y. Yu, Y. Liu, S. Y. Hu, P. Wang, S. D. Yao, H. H. Zhu, J. M. Zhang, Z. M. Wu, Z. Y. Hu, Y. B. Zhao, Z. F. Wu, S.K. Shen and L. Y. Hao for help in the experiments. This work was supported by the National Magnetic Confinement Fusion Energy Research Project from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (grant nos. 2019YFE03120003 (E.F.), 2018YFE0307100 (E.F.) and 2022YEF03030000 (J.D.)), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (grant nos. 11921006 (E.F.), 11975034 (E.F.), 11375018 (E.F.), 51921001 (Z.L.), 51671018 (S.J.), 11790293 (Z.L.), U20B2025 (Z.L.), U21B2082 (C.X.) and 51871016 (Y.W.)) and Beijing Municipal Natural Science Foundation (grant no. 1222023 (E.F.)). E.F. acknowledges support from the Science Fund for Creative Research Groups (NSFC), the Ion Beam Materials Laboratory (IBML) at Peking University and Collaborative Innovation Center of Quantum Matter at Peking University. Z.L. and S.J. acknowledge financial support from the 111 Project (B07003 (Z.L.)), the Fundamental Research Fund for the Central Universities of China (FRF-MP_20-43Z (S.J.) and National Postdoctoral Program for Innovative Talents (BX20180035 (S.J.)).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

E.F. and Z.L. conceived and designed the research. J.D. and S.J. performed the main experiments and data analysis. P.C. prepared the MEA alloy and performed its APT data analysis. J.D. performed the TEM characterization. J.D. and C.X. performed the ion radiation experiments. S.J. performed the synchrotron characterization. With inputs from Y.W., J.D. and S.J. performed the APT experiments and carried out the analysis. J.D. and H.C. performed the calculation. J.D., S.J., E.F. and Z.L. wrote the manuscript with inputs from all the authors.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Engang Fu or Zhaoping Lu.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Peer review

Peer review information

Nature Materials thanks Stephen Donnelly and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

Additional information

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Extended data

Extended Data Fig. 1 STEM and APT characterization of the superlattice steel before radiation.

a, STEM micrograph. b, High-resolution HAADF-STEM micrograph of the steel specimen taken along the 001 zone axis. The contrast in the HAADF imaging originates from different atomic numbers (Z), and dark columns arise from the partitioning of Al atoms. c, Combined elemental mapping of the APT datasets. d, NPs highlighted by an isoconcentration surface encompassing regions containing more than 50 at% of Al and Ni combined.

Extended Data Fig. 2 Safe analysis region for the 6 MeV Au ion irradiation.

a, SRIM simulation (using the Kinchin-Pease method56,57) showing the radiation damage (dpa) profile and injected ion distribution along the ion penetration depth for 6 MeV Au3+ with a dose of 3×1017 cm−2. Inset is the corresponding cross-sectional HAADF-STEM image of the Au ion-irradiated superlattice steel. b, Energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDS) profiles along radiation depth of the samples subjected to 84, 840 and 2350 dpa at 500 °C. The error bars are the standard deviation of the mean. c, Enlarged EDS profiles’ image labeled by violet dashed rectangle. d, The temperature-dependent void denuded zone near the surface and the injected ion-affected region for the 6 MeV Au ion-irradiated superlattice steel. Safe analysis region for void swelling is shown between two regions.

Source data

Extended Data Fig. 3 Cross-sectional TEM images of the superlattice steel subjected to 2350 dpa at a, 400 °C and b, 600 °C under different objective lens (OL) focus conditions.

No voids were observed in both cases. (a1, b1) Cross-sectional TEM images showing the radiation damage along the radiation depth. The investigated layer (200 ~ 320 nm) was indicated by two vertical dashed lines. (a2-a4) Cross-sectional TEM images of the investigated layer (200 ~ 320 nm deep) of the superlattice steel irradiated at 400 °C taken at a2, underfocus, a3, in focus, and a4 overfocus conditions. (b2-b4) Cross-sectional TEM images of the investigated layer (200 ~320 nm deep) in the superlattice steel irradiated at 600 °C taken at b2, underfocus, b3, in focus, and b4, overfocus conditions. The defocus distance is ±2 μm.

Extended Data Fig. 4 Cross-sectional HAADF-STEM images of the superlattice steel irradiated with different dpa at varied temperatures.

a, 84 dpa, 400 °C. b, 84 dpa, 500 °C. c, 420 dpa, 500 °C. d, 84 dpa, 600 °C. e-f, 84 dpa, 700 °C. g, 84 dpa, 400 °C. Insets are the corresponding SAED or FFT images. h, NPs density and diameter evolution versus radiation temperature up to 84 dpa. i, NPs density and diameter evolution versus radiation damage at 500 °C. j, Composition evolution of NPs versus radiation damage at 500 °C. The error bars represent the standard deviation of the mean.

Source data

Extended Data Fig. 5 APT characterization of the superlattice steel subjected to 840 dpa at 500 °C.

a, NP labeled by the red arrow in Fig. 2b, which is highlighted by the isoconcentration surface encompassing regions containing more than a 50 at.% combination of Al and Ni. b, Proximity histogram showing the composition change across the selected NPs, especially the Mo profile. c, The solute-enriched region labeled by the blue arrow in Fig. 2b, which is highlighted by the isoconcentration surface encompassing regions containing more than a 50 at.% combination of Al and Ni; Additionally, more than 23 at.% Al and 28 at.% Ni show an inhomogeneous distribution of Ni and Al in the solute-enriched regions. d, Proximity histogram showing the composition change across the selected solute-enriched regions, revealing the rejection of Mo atoms out of the precipitates and reformation of NPs inside the solute-enriched regions. The error bars represent the standard deviation of the mean.

Source data

Extended Data Fig. 6 Radiation-induced dissolution and thermally activated reprecipitation of NPs in the superlattice steel.

a, The number density of NPs versus radiation damage at room temperature (RT). b, Cross-sectional STEM image of the specimen subjected to 5 dpa at room temperature. The inset is the corresponding SAED pattern. c, Cross-sectional STEM image of the specimen irradiated to 5 dpa at room temperature followed by aging at 500 °C for 3 h. d, APT characterization of the superlattice steel irradiated to 5 dpa at room temperature. e, Proximity histogram showing the composition profiles across the selected nanopreccipitates shown in 40 at.% Ni+Al isosurface image (labeled by the red rectangular box). f, Proximity histogram showing the composition profiles across the selected nanoprecipitate shown in 40 at.% Ni+Al isosurface image (labeled by the blue rectangular box). The error bars are the standard deviation of the mean.

Source data

Extended Data Fig. 7 Room temperature radiation induced disordering of NPs in the superlattice steel and MEA.

a-f, APT characterization of the superlattice steel for a, As-prepared, b, 1 dpa, c, 2 dpa, and d, 5 dpa of the ion-irradiated sample followed by aging. The steel was radiated by Fe ion with doses of 1, 2 and 5 dpa at room temperature. The ion-irradiated steel with a dose of 5 dpa was aged at 500 °C for 3 h. e, The nearest neighbor distribution of Ni. f, The nearest neighbor distribution of Al. g-i. APT characterization of the designed MEA experienced 5 dpa radiation at room temperature, indicating fully dissolution of the L12-ordered phase. g, The tomographic reconstruction from one of the APT datasets, revealing complete dissolution of NPs after 5 dpa radiation at room temperature. h, The corresponding Ni elemental mapping. i, The nearest neighbor distribution of Ni, Ti and Al. The error bars are the standard deviation of the mean.

Source data

Extended Data Fig. 8 Structural motif effect of NPs for the disordering-ordering process.

a-c, Schematic figures showing the atomic structures of a, α-iron, b, B2-Ni:(Fe,Al), and c, L21-Fe2AlV. d-f, Evolution of L21 nanoprecipitation in Fe-12Cr4Al10V0.7Nb0.01B alloy before and after ion irradiation. d, As-prepared sample, showing the L21 NPs. e, Irradiated by Au ions up to 10 dpa at 500 °C, and SAED patterns show the dissolution of L21 NPs. f, Irradiated by Au ions up to 50 dpa at 600 °C, and SAED pattern shows the dissolution of L21 NPs, accompanied with formation of voids.

Extended Data Fig. 9 Mechanical properties, STEM characterizations and dynamic evolution of NPs of the superlattice steels with different Al contents and density of NPs.

a, Nanoindentation hardness evolution of the superlattice steels with different density of NPs as a function of radiation damage at 500 °C. The value without NPs is plotted by yellow dashed line and the line width indicates the corresponding error bar. Detailed description of the NPs in the superlattice steels with different NP density is provided in Supplementary Table S3. b, Nanoindentation hardness evolution of the superlattice steels and solution-annealed steel subjected to ion irradiation at 500 °C. c-e, STEM characterization of the 2Al superlattice steel with lower NPs density before and after ion irradiation; c, As-prepared. d, 84 dpa, 500 °C. e, 840 dpa, 500 °C. No NPs were observed in the ion-irradiated samples. f, Atomic resolved cross-sectional HAADF-STEM image of the steel with low NP density (that is, the 2Al steel) after 840 dpa ion irradiation at 500 °C. The inset is the corresponding FFT image showing weak spots of B2 structure. g, Inverse FFT image showing the B2 reordered regions (several are circled). h, Vickers hardness versus aging time revealing nanoprecipitation kinetics of the superlattice steels with different Al contents.The error bars are the standard deviation of the mean.

Source data

Extended Data Fig. 10 Microstructure of the 9Cr ODS steel.

a, SEM image of 9Cr ODS steel. b, STEM image of 9Cr ODS steel containing nanoparticles labeled by red arrows and EDS mappings of one typical nanoparticle, in which rich Y and Ti can be detected.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Discussion, Figs. 1–4 and Tables 1–3.

Supplementary Data 1

Source data for the figures in the Supplementary Information.

Source data

Source Data Fig. 1

Statistical source data.

Source Data Fig. 2

Profile source data.

Source Data Fig. 3

Profile source data.

Source Data Fig. 4

Profile source data.

Source Data Fig. 6

Profile source data.

Source Data Extended Data Fig. 2

Profile source data.

Source Data Extended Data Fig. 4

Statistical source data.

Source Data Extended Data Fig. 5

Statistical source data.

Source Data Extended Data Fig. 6

Statistical and profile source data.

Source Data Extended Data Fig. 7

Profile source data.

Source Data Extended Data Fig. 9

Profile source data.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Du, J., Jiang, S., Cao, P. et al. Superior radiation tolerance via reversible disordering–ordering transition of coherent superlattices. Nat. Mater. (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41563-022-01260-y

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41563-022-01260-y

Further reading

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing