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Structural Analysis of a Completely Amorphous 238Pu-Doped Zircon by Neutron Diffraction

  • Jeffrey A. Fortner (a1), Yaspal Badyal (a2), David C. L. Price (a2), John M. Hanchar (a2) and William J. Weber (a3)...

The structure of a completely amorphous zircon was determined by time-of-flight neutron diffraction at Argonne's Intense Pulsed Neutron Source (IPNS). The sample of metamict zircon (ZrSiO4), initially doped to 8.85 weight percent 238pu, had been completely amorphized by alpha-recoil damage since its synthesis in 1981 at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The measured diffraction structure factor, S(Q), indicated a completely amorphous sample, with no signs of residual zircon microcrystallinity. The pair distribution function obtained indicated that the structure was that of an oxide glass, retaining the Si–O, Zr–O, and O–O bond lengths of crystalline zircon.

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