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The goal of this project, which started in May 2004, is to elucidate the chemical bonding and interface formation of metal fission products with the coating materials used in state-of-the-art TRISO fuel particles. Particular emphasis is placed on an analysis of intermediate chemical phases at the interface, the intermixing/diffusion behavior, and the electronic interface structure as a function of material choice (metal and coating materials), temperature, and external stress. In detail, this project is devoted to studying the interface formation of Pd, Ag, and Cs with SiC and pyrolytic carbon. In order to study the properties of the relevant interfaces, we prepare such interfaces under controlled conditions in an ultra-high vacuum environment and study them with a variety of different spectroscopic methods, i.e., surface sensitive techniques (in particular photoelectron spectroscopy – XPS and UPS) and bulk sensitive methods (in particular X-ray emission spectroscopy - XES).

In the last quarter, our efforts were focused on two areas, namely (1) to organize the arrival and reassembly of the four-chamber ultra-high vacuum surface science instrument on the UNLV campus and (2) to conduct first XES experiments at the Advanced Light Source, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


Chemical structure; Electronic structure; Metal-base fuel; Metal coating; Nuclear chemistry; Nuclear fuels; Palladium; Silicon carbide; X-ray spectroscopy


Chemistry | Materials Science and Engineering | Metallurgy | Nuclear Engineering | Oil, Gas, and Energy | Physical Chemistry