Title: Self-irradiation Induced Structural Changes in the Transplutonium Pyrochlores An2Zr2O7 (An=Am, Cf)
Citation: JOURNAL OF SOLID STATE CHEMISTRY vol. 178 p. 578-583
Publication Year: 2005
JRC N°: JRC30729
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC30729
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: We have pursued the fundamental chemistry of actinide pyrochlore oxides, An2Zr2O7 (An-Am, Cm, Bk, and Cf), using X-ray diffraction as well as optical spectroscopy. One recent facet of our studies has been to observe the structural changes of these materials under self-irradiation as a function of time. It has been reported that both titanate and silicate materials transform from a crystalline to an amorphous state under irradiation. With the Zr-based actinide pyrochlores studies here, we have observed a phase change from a pyrochlore structure to a fluorite-type structure with the retention of crystallinity. We focus here on the impact of a-radiation (243Am and 249Cf), rather than that from neutrons (248Cm) or B-radiation (249Bk), on the An2Zr2O7 pyrochlore structures. As a result of this phase change, the local coordination environments of both the actinide and zirconium atoms are altered. We consider a defect/ion deficiency craven mechanism and also address the occurrence of oxidation of the trivalent actinides during the self-irradiation process as being potential mechanisms responsible for the observed phase change. Keywords: Zirconium pyrochlore; Actinide; Californium; Americium; X-ray diffraction; Radiation stability; Phase transformation
JRC Directorate:Energy, Transport and Climate

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