Microstructure of surface cerium hydride growth sites

Martin Brierley, John Knowles, Neil Montgomery, Michael Preuss

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Samples of cerium were exposed to hydrogen under controlled conditions causing cerium hydride sites to nucleate and grow on the surface. The hydriding rate was measured in situ, and the hydrides were characterised using secondary ion mass spectrometry, scanning electron microscopy, and optical microscopy. The results show that the hydriding rate proceeded more quickly than earlier studies. Characterisation confirmed that the hydrogen is confined to the sites. The morphology of the hydrides was confirmed to be oblate, and stressed material was observed surrounding the hydride, in a number of cases lathlike features were observed surrounding the hydride sites laterally with cracking in the surface oxide above them. It is proposed that during growth the increased lattice parameter of the CeH2 induces a lateral compressive stress around the hydride, which relieves by the ca. 16% volume collapse of the γ-Ce to α-Ce pressure induced phase transition. Cracking of the surface oxide above the laths reduces the diffusion barrier to hydrogen reaching the metal/oxide interface surrounding the hydride site and contributes to the anisotropic growth of the hydrides.

Original languageEnglish
Article number031402
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces and Films
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes

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