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Citation: X.W. Zhou, N.C. Bartelt, and R.B. Sills (2021), "Enabling simulations of helium bubble nucleation and growth: A strategy for interatomic potentials", Physical Review B, 103(1), 014108. DOI: 10.1103/physrevb.103.014108.
Abstract: Helium bubbles are a severe form of radiation damage that has been frequently observed. It would be possible to understand the complex processes that cause bubble formation if suitable interatomic potentials were available to enable molecular dynamics simulations. In this paper, Pd-H-He embedded-atom method potentials based on both Daw-Baskes and Finnis-Sinclair formalisms have been developed to enable modeling of He bubbles formed by the radioactive decay of tritium in Pd. Our potentials incorporate helium into an existing Pd-H potential while addressing two challenging paradoxes: (a) Interstitial He atoms can dramatically lower their energies by forming dimers and larger clusters in Pd but are only bound by weak van der Waals forces in the gas phase. (b) He atoms diffuse readily in Pd yet significantly distort the Pd lattice with large volume expansions. We demonstrate that both of our potentials reproduce density functional theory results for (b). However, the Daw-Baskes formalism fails to resolve paradox (a) because it cannot reproduce the experimental helium equation of state. We resolved this problem through a modification of the Finnis-Sinclair formalism in which a (fictitious) negative embedding charge density is produced by Pd at the He binding sites. In addition to molecular statics validation of static properties, molecular dynamics simulation tests establish that our Finnis-Sinclair potential leads to the nucleation of helium bubbles from an initial random distribution of helium interstitial atoms.

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Notes: This file was provided by Xiaowang Zhou (Sandia) on March 24, 2021 and posted with his permission. The eam/he pair style was added to LAMMPS starting with the 10 Feb 2021 version.
Date Created: October 5, 2010 | Last updated: June 09, 2022