Topic outline

  • General


    Radiation damage is of major concern for materials in nuclear reactors, particle accelerators, and in devices employed in other high-radiation environments such as in space. This course teaches the fundamentals of the radiation damage process, and gives an overview of the microscopic and macroscopic effects of irradiation on materials. Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be aware of the challenges posed to materials in radiation-intensive environments.

    Learning sessions will take place in the form of lectures. There will be mandatory reading material for some of the learning sessions. The students will solve exercise problems and write learning diaries. During exercise sessions there will be demonstrations and group work. The course is given in hybrid format upon request, and can be completed fully online.

    The students will produce a project work in small groups, which will be presented at the end of the course either as a written report, a poster, or an oral presentation (depending on the number of participants).

    The course will also include hands-on computational modelling sessions, where students will learn the basics of running simple atomistic calculations for determining properties of radiation-induced defects.

    After the course, the student will be able to
    • list the different types of defects induced by radiation in different materials
    • estimate quantitatively whether a given radiation source will cause displacement damage in a material
    • calculate the radiation dose in an irradiated sample in terms of displacements per atom, and the nominal vacancy concentration after a given radiation dose
    • determine whether simple point defects are mobile in a given material under given conditions
    • explain the differences between radiation damage formation and evolution in terms of time scales, and the challenges this poses for experimental validation of radiation damage models
    • describe the effects of radiation damage on the physical and mechanical properties of materials
    • critically discuss the benefits and limitations of models of radiation effects, and the challenges to sustainable nuclear energy in terms of model predictive capability and the need for the development of new materials with superior thermo-mechanical properties and radiation resistance

    Course structure and workload

    Lectures = 24h

    Exercise sessions and hands-on = 24h

    Group project work = 30h

    Independent work = 57h

    No exam

    Evaluation criteria: Grade 1-5

    50% attendance in the lectures is mandatory.

    Exercises: 40% of the grade

    Group project work: 30% of the grade

    Attendance in lectures and exercise sessions: 20 %

    Hands-on project work: 10%


    • B.Sc.-level physics

    • Materials physics basics, e.g. from the course PHYS-C0240 Materiaalifysiikka