LAMDA: Irradiated-Materials Microscopy at Oak Ridge National Laboratory


Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Low Activation Materials Development and Analysis (LAMDA) laboratory is a dedicated facility containing specialized instruments for the study of irradiation-induced effects on materials properties. Located in the Materials Science and Technology Division, LAMDA consists of several interconnected contamination-zone and clean area suites. Originally created as a facility for plutonium studies and then thermophysical properties of graphite for high temperature gas cooled reactors in the 1960’s, the role of LAMDA has changed with the emphasis placed on “low activation” materials. Currently, LAMDA is involved in both fundamental and applied research on radiation-induced changes in structural materials, reactor internals, diagnostic materials and sensor components for both current and advanced reactor designs for both fission and fusion systems. LAMDA allows for the examination of low activity radiological samples (\textless 100 mR/hr at 30 cm) without the need for remote manipulation. LAMDA typically utilizes small, compact samples to allow researchers to leverage cutting-edge characterization and test equipment to study materials phenomenon not possible at a hot cell facility. The LAMDA facility is maintained as a low alpha contamination facility, but certain equipment is available for fuel-related studies. LAMDA contains a strong electron microscopy sub-program, which we describe here. A full complement of equipment and instruments are available for metallographic and microstructural analysis of materials. This includes X-ray tomography and three irradiated-materials-dedicated FEI DualBeam FIB-SEM instruments for 3D materials studies and the preparation of specimens for TEM. LAMDA contains a new 200kV Schottky JEOL JEM-2100F S/TEM with EDS and Gatan Quantum Image Filter, and leverages ORNL’s other TEM tools as well as SEMs and atom probe.

In: Microscopy and Microanalysis, (21), S3, pp. 1003–1004,