Jevgeni Vassiltšenko, vanemteadur
Aleksandr Luštšik, professor
dr Anatoli I. Popovi Läti Ülikoolist
The development of many fields of science, technology and energetics depends on the improvement of radiation resistance of materials (incl. wide-gap materials - WGM) against destructive influence of photons, electrons, neutrons, and ions. This thesis continues the research of three competing processes - luminescence, formation of structural defects, and heat release - at the irradiation of WGM with photons and particles, which provide various density of electronic excitations (EE). The research was conducted on pure and doped with different impurities MgO and NaCl single crystals, which have the same face-centered cubic structure and close values of a band gap, but very different melting points (NaCl - 801 °C, MgO - 2947 °C) and the structure of EE. It was shown, that in NaCl at very low temperatures, the energy of Frenkel defect formation is higher than the band gap, so the radiation defects are formed only at the recombination of energetic ("hot") conduction electrons with self-trapped holes. The "luminescent protection" against such process is possible by introducing luminescent ions into the crystal. These ions interact with hot electrons and partly convert their energy to luminescence, therefore, competing with the process of defect creation. MgO single crystals, where neither excitons nor electrons and holes undergo self-trapping in a regular lattice, are highly resistant against X- and gamma-rays. However, the holes produced by irradiation may be localized near impurity ions (beryllium, calcium, chromium), which increases the efficiency of defect formation at hole recombination with hot electrons. It was demonstrated, that the irradiation of MgO with heavy gold or uranium ions with the energies about 2 GeV creates an extremely high density of EE and long-lived complex structural defects. Simple anion defects, bivacancies and more complex associates were investigated using several spectroscopy methods in a wide range of energies and temperatures. Special attention was given to MgO crystals doped with chromium ions, which, depending on concentration, can provide either luminescent protection or the increase of the defect formation efficiency.