The Physical and Engineering Limits of Coupled In situ TEM Experiments

Ryan Schoell, Eric Lang, Ben Wolf, Thomas Moore, Katherine Jungjohann, Khalid Hattar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Almost all future energy systems (advanced nuclear reactors, fusion energy system, concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP), and wind technologies) are limited by degradation of key material systems exposed to multiple environmental stressors. The degradation during exposure to high temperatures, radiation, mechanical loading, and chemical attack is often dictated by mechanisms active at the microstructural level. The nature of these mechanisms and the associated variations between sequential and concurrent interplay can be explored if the transmission electron microscope (TEM) is utilized as a toolbox for exploration [1]. One such tool developed at Sandia National Laboratories to couple several of these environments is the In situ Ion Irradiation TEM (I3TEM) [2]. Several studies over the last decade utilizing this tool have shown that the scientific intuition developed over decades of sequential experiments is not always a good indicator of concurrent mechanisms or failure routes. This presentation will highlight the recent and planned additions into the I3TEM facility of a Waviks gas injection system and Raman system, respectively, as can be seen in Fig. 1, permitting environmental degradation from gas species leaked into the pole piece region during quantitative mechanical loading (indentation, monotonic loading, high temperature creep, irradiation induced creep, and high-cycle fatigue); multi-beam ion irradiation (energies ranging from 1 keV to 48 MeV and species from H to Au); laser exposure (20 W and 1064 nm), or various combinations thereof that are already possible [3]. This addition permits the facility to explore both sequential or concurrently the four axes of stressors: thermal, mechanical, radiation, and chemical. This information can be directly coupled to modeling, expediting the refinement and validation of both atomistic and mesoscale models.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1468-1469
Number of pages2
JournalMicroscopy and Microanalysis
Issue numberSupplement 1
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-87465


  • degradation
  • environmental stressors
  • microstructure
  • transmission electron microscope


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