Investigation of W-SiC compositionally graded films as a divertor material

Zihan Lin, Carlos Monton, Stefan Bringuier, Gregory Sinclair, Guangming Cheng, Eduardo Marin, Zachary Bergstrom, Dmitry Rudakov, Zana Popović, Ulises Losada, Igor Bykov, Evan T. Ostrowski, Shota Abe, Nan Yao, Bruce E. Koel, Tyler Abrams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


W-SiC composite material is a promising plasma-facing material candidate alternative to pure W due to the low neutron activation, low impurity radiation, and low tritium diffusivity of SiC while leveraging the high erosion resistance of the W armor. Additionally, W and SiC have high thermomechanical compatibility given their similar thermal expansion rates. The present study addresses the synthesis and performance of compositionally graded W-SiC films fabricated by pulsed-DC magnetron sputtering. Compositional gradients were characterized using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), and crystallographic information was obtained using electron diffraction and X-ray diffraction (XRD). Samples were exposed to L-mode deuterium plasma discharges in the DIII-D tokamak using the Divertor Material Evaluation System (DiMES). Post-mortem characterizations were performed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and XRD. Electron diffraction and XRD showed that the compositionally graded W-SiC films were composed of polycrystalline W and amorphous SiC with amorphous W+SiC interlayers. No macroscopic delamination or microstructural changes were observed under mild exposure conditions. This study serves as a preliminary examination of W-SiC compositionally graded composites as a potential candidate divertor material in future tokamak devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number154942
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
StatePublished - Apr 15 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • General Materials Science
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


  • Nuclear fusion
  • Plasma-facing material
  • W-SiC composites


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