Maik Lang

Profile Information
Professor Maik Lang
University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Associate Professor
"Advances in understanding of swift heavy-ion tracks in complex ceramics" Maik Lang, Ram Devanathan, Marcel Toulemonde, Christina Trautmann, Current Opinion in Solid State and Materials Science Vol. 19 2014 39-48 Link
Tracks produced by swift heavy ions in ceramics are of interest for fundamental science as well as for applications covering different fields such as nanotechnology or fission-track dating of minerals. In the case of pyrochlores with general formula A2B2O7, the track structure and radiation sensitivity show a clear dependence on the composition. Ion irradiated Gd2Zr2O7, e.g., retains its crystallinity while amorphous tracks are produced in Gd2Ti2O7. Tracks in Ti-containing compositions have a complex morphology consisting of an amorphous core surrounded by a shell of a disordered, defect-fluorite phase. The size of the amorphous core decreases with decreasing energy loss and with increasing Zr content, while the shell thickness seems to be similar over a wide range of energy loss values. The large data set and the complex track structure has made pyrochlore an interesting model system for a general theoretical description of track formation including thermal spike calculations (providing the spatial and temporal evolution of temperature around the ion trajectory) and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations (describing the response of the atomic system). Recent MD advances consider the sudden temperature increase by inserting data from the thermal spike. The combination allows the reproduction of the core–shell track characteristic and sheds light on the early stages of track formation including recrystallization of the molten material produced by the thermal spike.
"Characterization of ion-induced radiation effects in nuclear materials using synchrotron X-ray techniques" Maik Lang, Cameron Tracy, Raul Palomares, Fuxiang Zhang, Daniel Severin, Markus Bender, Christina Trautmann, Changyong Park, Vitali Prakapenka, Vladimir Skuratov, Rodney Ewing, Journal of Materials Research Vol. 30 2014 1366-1379 Link
Recent efforts to characterize the nanoscale structural and chemical modifications induced by energetic ion irradiation in nuclear materials have greatly benefited from the application of synchrotron-based x-ray diffraction (XRD) and x-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) techniques. Key to the study of actinide-bearing materials has been the use of small sample volumes, which are particularly advantageous, as the small quantities minimize the level of radiation exposure at the ion-beam and synchrotron user facility. This approach utilizes energetic heavy ions (energy range: 100 MeV–3 GeV) that pass completely through the sample thickness and deposit an almost constant energy per unit length along their trajectory. High energy x-rays (25–65 keV) from intense synchrotron light sources are then used in transmission geometry to analyze ion-induced structural and chemical modifications throughout the ion tracks. We describe in detail the experimental approach for utilizing synchrotron radiation (SR) to study the radiation response of a range of nuclear materials (e.g., ThO2 and Gd2Ti x Zr2-x O7). Also addressed is the use of high-pressure techniques, such as the heatable diamond anvil cell, as a new means to expose irradiated materials to well-controlled high-temperature (up to 1000 °C) and/or high-pressure (up to 50 GPa) conditions. This is particularly useful for characterizing the annealing kinetics of irradiation-induced material modifications.
"Chemical ordering in substituted fluorite oxides: a computational investigation of Ho2Zr2O7 and RE2Th2O7 (RE=Ho, Y, Gd, Nd, La)" Jonathan Solomon, Jacob Shamblin, Maik Lang, Alexandra Navrotsky, Mark Asta, Scientific Reports Vol. 6 2016 55143 Link
Fluorite-structured oxides find widespread use for applications spanning nuclear energy and waste containment, energy conversion, and sensing. In such applications the host tetravalent cation is often partially substituted by trivalent cations, with an associated formation of charge-compensating oxygen vacancies. The stability and properties of such materials are known to be influenced strongly by chemical ordering of the cations and vacancies, and the nature of such ordering and associated energetics are thus of considerable interest. Here we employ density-functional theory (DFT) calculations to study the structure and energetics of cation and oxygen-vacancy ordering in Ho2Zr2O7. In a recent neutron total scattering study, solid solutions in this system were reported to feature local chemical ordering based on the fluorite-derivative weberite structure. The calculations show a preferred chemical ordering qualitatively consistent with these findings, and yield values for the ordering energy of 9.5?kJ/mol-cation. Similar DFT calculations are applied to additional RE2Th2O7 fluorite compounds, spanning a range of values for the ratio of the tetravalent and trivalent (RE) cation radii. The results demonstrate that weberite-type order becomes destabilized with increasing values of this size ratio, consistent with an increasing energetic preference for the tetravalent cations to have higher oxygen coordination.
"Defect accumulation in ThO2 irradiated with swift heavy ions" Rodney Ewing, Cameron Tracy, J. McLain Pray, Maik Lang, Dmitry Popov, Christina Trautmann, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms Vol. 326 2014 Link
Polycrystalline ThO2 was irradiated with 2.2 GeV Au ions and characterized by synchrotron X-ray diffraction, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy. The diffraction measurements indicated an increase in the unit cell parameter and the accumulation of heterogeneous microstrain with increasing ion fluence, both of which are consistent with a single-impact model of damage accumulation. An analytical fit of the data to a single-impact model yielded a saturation unit cell expansion of 0.049 ± 0.002% and a saturation strain of 10.4 ± 0.2%. Cross-section data determined from the model values yielded effective ion track diameters of 1.9 ± 0.2 nm and 3.2 ± 0.3 nm for the two modifications, respectively, indicating that the tracks consist of a core region in which swelling and strain have occurred and a defect-rich halo in which microstrain is present but the initial unit cell parameter has not changed significantly. The spectroscopic analysis revealed the presence of significant local structural distortion in the irradiated material, but no evidence of systematic modification to the electronic state or chemical environment of the cations. This indicates that swift heavy ion irradiation of ThO2 primarily produces simple point defects or defect agglomerates.
"High pressure synthesis of a hexagonal close-packed phase of the high-entropy alloy CrMnFeCoNi" Cameron Tracy, Sulgiye Park, Dylan Rittman, Steven Zinkle, Hongbin Bei, Maik Lang, Rodney Ewing, Wendy Mao, Nature Communications Vol. 8 2017 Link
High-entropy alloys, near-equiatomic solid solutions of five or more elements, represent a new strategy for the design of materials with properties superior to those of conventional alloys. However, their phase space remains constrained, with transition metal high-entropy alloys exhibiting only face- or body-centered cubic structures. Here, we report the high-pressure synthesis of a hexagonal close-packed phase of the prototypical high-entropy alloy CrMnFeCoNi. This martensitic transformation begins at 14?GPa and is attributed to suppression of the local magnetic moments, destabilizing the initial fcc structure. Similar to fcc-to-hcp transformations in Al and the noble gases, the transformation is sluggish, occurring over a range of >40?GPa. However, the behaviour of CrMnFeCoNi is unique in that the hcp phase is retained following decompression to ambient pressure, yielding metastable fcc-hcp mixtures. This demonstrates a means of tuning the structures and properties of high-entropy alloys in a manner not achievable by conventional processing techniques.
"In situ defect annealing of swift heavy ion irradiated CeO2 and ThO2 using synchrotron X- ray diffraction and a hydrothermal diamond anvil cell" Raul Palomares, Cameron Tracy, Fuxiang Zhang, Changyong Park, Dmitry Popov, Christina Trautmann, Rodney Ewing, Maik Lang, Journal of Applied Crystallography Vol. 48 2015 711-717 Link
Hydrothermal diamond anvil cells (HDACs) provide facile means for coupling synchrotron X-ray techniques with pressure up to 10 GPa and temperature up to 1300 K. This manuscript reports on an application of the HDAC as an ambient-pressure sample environment for performing in situ defect annealing and thermal expansion studies of swift heavy ion irradiated CeO2 and ThO2 using synchrotron X-ray diffraction. The advantages of the in situ HDAC technique over conventional annealing methods include rapid temperature ramping and quench times, high-resolution measurement capability, simultaneous annealing of multiple samples, and prolonged temperature and apparatus stability at high temperatures. Isochronal annealing between 300 and 1100 K revealed two-stage and one-stage defect recovery processes for irradiated CeO2 and ThO2, respectively, indicating that the morphology of the defects produced by swift heavy ion irradiation of these two materials differs significantly. These results suggest that electronic configuration plays a major role in both the radiation-induced defect production and high-temperature defect recovery mechanisms of CeO2 and ThO2.
"Initial stages of ion beam-induced phase transformations in Gd2O3 and Lu2O3" Chien-Hung Chen, Cameron Tracy, Chenxu Wang, Maik Lang, Rodney Ewing, Applied Physics Letters Vol. 112 2019 Link
"Inversion in Mg1–xNixAl2O4 Spinel: New Insight into Local Structure" Eric O'Quinn, Jacob Shamblin, Brandon Perlov, Rodney Ewing, Joerg Neuefeind, Mikhail Feygenson, Igor Gussev, Maik Lang, Journal of the American Chemical Society State and Materials Science Vol. 139 2017 10395-10702 Link
A wide variety of compositions adopt the isometric spinel structure (AB2O4), in which the atomic-scale ordering is conventionally described according to only three structural degrees of freedom. One, the inversion parameter, is traditionally defined as the degree of cation exchange between the A- and B-sites. This exchange, a measure of intrinsic disorder, is fundamental to understanding the variation in the physical properties of different spinel compositions. Based on neutron total scattering experiments, we have determined that the local structure of Mg1–xNixAl2O4 spinel cannot be understood as simply being due to cation disorder. Rather, cation inversion creates a local tetragonal symmetry that extends over sub-nanometer domains. Consequently, the simple spinel structure is more complicated than previously thought, as more than three parameters are needed to fully describe the structure. This new insight provides a framework by which the behavior of spinel can be more accurately modeled under the extreme environments important for many geophysics and energy-related applications, including prediction of deep seismic activity and immobilization of nuclear waste in oxides.
"Nanoscale manipulation of the properties of solids at high pressure with relativistic heavy ions" Maik Lang, Fuxiang Zhang, Jiaming Zhang, Jianwei Wang, Beatrice Schuster, Christina Trautmann, Reinhard Neumann, U do Becker, Rodney Ewing, Nature Materials Vol. 8 2009 793-797 Link
High-pressure and high-temperature phases show unusual physical and chemical properties, but they are often difficult to ‘quench’ to ambient conditions1. Here, we present a new approach, using bombardment with very high-energy, heavy ions accelerated to relativistic velocities, to stabilize a high-pressure phase. In this case, Gd2Zr2O7, pressurized in a diamond-anvil cell up to 40?GPa, was irradiated with 20?GeV xenon or 45?GeV uranium ions, and the (previously unquenchable) cubic high-pressure phase was recovered after release of pressure. Transmission electron microscopy revealed a radiation-induced, nanocrystalline texture. Quantum-mechanical calculations confirm that the surface energy at the nanoscale is the cause of the remarkable stabilization of the high-pressure phase. The combined use of high pressure and high-energy ion irradiation2,3 provides a new means for manipulating and stabilizing new materials to ambient conditions that otherwise could not be recovered.
"Probing disorder in isometric pyrochlore and related complex oxides" Jacob Shamblin, Mikhail Feygenson, Joerg Neuefeind, Cameron Tracy, Fuxiang Zhang, Sarah Finkeldei, Dirk Bosbach, Haidong Zhou, Rodney Ewing, Maik Lang, Nature Materials Vol. 15 2018 507-512 Link
There has been an increased focus on understanding the energetics of structures with unconventional ordering (for example, correlated disorder that is heterogeneous across different length scales1). In particular, compounds with the isometric pyrochlore structure2, A2B2O7, can adopt a disordered, isometric fluorite-type structure, (A, B)4O7, under extreme conditions3,4,5,6,7. Despite the importance of the disordering process there exists only a limited understanding of the role of local ordering on the energy landscape. We have used neutron total scattering to show that disordered fluorite (induced intrinsically by composition/stoichiometry or at far-from-equilibrium conditions produced by high-energy radiation) consists of a local orthorhombic structural unit that is repeated by a pseudo-translational symmetry, such that orthorhombic and isometric arrays coexist at different length scales. We also show that inversion in isometric spinel occurs by a similar process. This insight provides a new basis for understanding order-to-disorder transformations important for applications such as plutonium immobilization4, fast ion conduction8, and thermal barrier coatings9,10.
"Redox response of actinide materials to highly ionizing radiation" Cameron Tracy, Maik Lang, John Pray, Fuxiang Zhang, Dmitry Popov, Changyong Park, Christina Trautmann, Markus Bender, Daniel Severin, Vladimir Skuratov, Rodney Ewing, Nature Communications Vol. 6 2015 6133 Link
Energetic radiation can cause dramatic changes in the physical and chemical properties of actinide materials, degrading their performance in fission-based energy systems. As advanced nuclear fuels and wasteforms are developed, fundamental understanding of the processes controlling radiation damage accumulation is necessary. Here we report oxidation state reduction of actinide and analogue elements caused by high-energy, heavy ion irradiation and demonstrate coupling of this redox behaviour with structural modifications. ThO2, in which thorium is stable only in a tetravalent state, exhibits damage accumulation processes distinct from those of multivalent cation compounds CeO2 (Ce3+ and Ce4+) and UO3 (U4+, U5+ and U6+). The radiation tolerance of these materials depends on the efficiency of this redox reaction, such that damage can be inhibited by altering grain size and cation valence variability. Thus, the redox behaviour of actinide materials is important for the design of nuclear fuels and the prediction of their performance.
"Structural response of titanate pyrochlores to swift heavy ion irradiation" Jacob Shamblin, Cameron Tracy, Rodney Ewing, Fuxiang Zhang, Weixing Li, Christina Trautmann, Maik Lang, Acta Materialia Vol. 117 2016 207-215 Link
The structure, size, and morphology of ion tracks resulting from irradiation of five different pyrochlore compositions (A2Ti2O7, A = Yb, Er, Y, Gd, Sm) with 2.2 GeV 197Au ions were investigated by means of synchrotron X-ray diffraction (XRD) and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). Radiation-induced amorphization occurred in all five materials analyzed following an exponential rate as a function of ion fluence. XRD patterns showed a general trend of increasing susceptibility of amorphization with increasing ratio of A- to B-site cation ionic radii (rA/rB) with the exception of Y2Ti2O7 and Sm2Ti2O7. This indicates that the track size does not necessarily increase with rA/rB, in contrast with results from previous swift heavy ion studies on Gd2Zr2-xTixO7 pyrochlore materials. For Y2Ti2O7, this effect is attributed to the significantly lower electron density of this material relative to the lanthanide-bearing pyrochlores, thus lowering the electronic energy loss (dE/dx) of the high-energy ions in this composition. An energy loss normalization procedure was performed which reveals an initial increase of amorphous track size with rA/rB that saturates above a cation radius ratio larger than Gd2Ti2O7. This is in agreement with previous low-energy ion irradiation experiments and first principles calculations of the disordering energy of titanate pyrochlores indicating that the same trends in disordering energy apply to radiation damage induced in both the nuclear and electronic energy loss regimes. HRTEM images indicate that single ion tracks in Yb2Ti2O7 and Er2Ti2O7, which have small A-site cations and low rA/rB, exhibit a core-shell structure with a small amorphous core surrounded by a larger disordered shell. In contrast, single tracks in Gd2Ti2O7 and Sm2Ti2O7, have a larger amorphous core with minimal disordered shells.
"Swift heavy ion track formation in Gd2Zr2-xTixO7 pyrochlore: Effect of electronic energy loss" Maik Lang, Marcel Toulemonde, Jiaming Zhang, Fuxiang Zhang, Cameron Tracy, Jie Lian, Zhongwu Wang, William Weber, Daniel Severin, Markus Bender, Christina Trautmann, Rodney Ewing, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms Vol. 336 2014 102-115 Link
The morphology of swift heavy ion tracks in the Gd2Zr2-xTixO7 pyrochlore system has been investigated as a function of the variation in chemical composition and electronic energy loss, dE/dx, over a range of energetic ions: 58Ni, 101Ru, 129Xe, 181Ta, 197Au, 208Pb, and 238U of 11.1 MeV/u specific energy. Bright-field transmission electron microscopy, synchrotron X-ray diffraction, and Raman spectroscopy reveal an increasing degree of amorphization with increasing Ti-content and dE/dx. The size and morphology of individual ion tracks in Gd2Ti2O7 were characterized by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy revealing a core–shell structure with an outer defect-fluorite dominated shell at low dE/dx to predominantly amorphous tracks at high dE/dx. Inelastic thermal-spike calculations have been used together with atomic-scale characterization of ion tracks in Gd2Ti2O7 by high resolution transmission electron microscopy to deduce critical energy densities for the complex core–shell morphologies induced by ions of different dE/dx.
NSUF Articles:
DOE Awards 33 Rapid Turnaround Experiment Research Proposals - Projects total approximately $1.5 million These projects will continue to advance the understanding of irradiation effects in nuclear fuels and materials in support of the mission of the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy. Monday, May 14, 2018 - Calls and Awards
DOE Awards 37 RTE Proposals - Awarded projects total nearly $1.4M in access awards Tuesday, July 14, 2020 - News Release, Calls and Awards