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The absence of metamictisation in natural monazite

Nasdala, L.; Akhmadaliev, S.; Burakov, B. E.; Chanmuang N, C.; Škoda, R.

The actinide-containing mineral monazite–(Ce) is a common accessory rock component that bears petrogenetic information, is widely used in geochronology and thermochronology, and is considered as potential host material for immobilisation of radioactive waste. Natural samples of this mineral show merely moderate degrees of radiation damage, despite having sustained high self-irradiation induced by the decay of Th and U (for the sample studied herein 8.9 ± 0.3 × 1019 α/g). This is assigned to low damage-annealing temperature of monazite–(Ce) and “alpha-particle-assisted reconstitution”.
Here we show that the response of monazite–(Ce) to alpha radiation changes dramatically, depending on the damage state. Only in radiation-damaged monazite–(Ce), 4He ions cause gradual structural restoration. In contrast, its high-temperature annealed (i.e. well crystalline) analogue and synthetic CePO4 experience He-irradiation damage. Alpha-assisted annealing contributes to preventing irradiation-induced amorphisation (“metamictisation”) of monazite–(Ce); however, this process is only significant above a certain damage level.

Publ.-Id: 31530