08. 02. 2008
Sergei L. Dudarev
Thermally activated migration of defects drives microstructural evolution of materials under irradiation. In the case of vacancies, the activation energy for migration is many times the absolute temperature, and the dependence of the diffusion coefficient on temperature is well approximated by the Arrhenius law. On the other hand the activation energy for the migration of self-interstitial defects, and particularly self-interstitial atom clusters, is very low. In this case a trajectory of a defect performing Brownian motion at or above room temperature does not follow the Arrhenius-like pattern of migration involving infrequent hops separated by the relatively long intervals of time during which a defect resides at a certain point in the crystal lattice. This article reviews recent atomistic simulations of migration of individual interstitial defects, as well as clusters of interstitial defects, and rationalizes the results of simulations on the basis of solutions of the multistring Frenkel–Kontorova model. The treatment developed in the paper shows that the origin of the non-Arrhenius migration of interstitial defects and interstitial defect clusters is associated with the interaction between a defect and the classical field of thermal phonons.