Dr. Cornelia Kaden,
Phone: +49 351 260 3431

Dr. Frank Bergner
Phone: +49 351 260 3186

Nano-/microstructure characterization of irradiated materials

Irradiation-induced changes of material properties are caused by the formation and evolution of nm-scale defects and precipitates as a result of the generation of point defects and their clusters through the interaction with energetic particles (neutrons, ions). The microstructure characterization of neutron/ion irradiated materials aims at elucidating damage mechanisms and evaluating the irradiation tolerance of materials. It contributes to the assessment and development of innovative materials for nuclear applications. With our technical equipment, we are able to characterize complex, hierarchical microstructures of irradiated materials from the nm- to the mm-scale. The focus is on irradiation-induced changes at the nm scale.

Our expertise

  • Characterisation and quantification of nm-scale irradiation defects
  • Multi-scale characterisation (nm – mm-scale) of complex, hierarchic microstructures of irradiated materials
  • Models for irradiation hardening


  • Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS)
  • Analytical (scanning-) transmission electron microscopy (S)TEM/EDS
  • Analytical scanning electron microscopy and electron backscatter diffraction SEM/EDS/EBSD
  • Positron annihilation spectroscopy in cooperation with the Institute of Radiation Physics

Current projects

  • Innovative structural materials for fission and fusion
    (INNUMAT, EU, HORIZON EUROPE, 2022-2026)
  • European Database for Multiscale Modelling of Radiation Damage
    (ENTENTE, EU, HORIZON 2020, 2020-2024)
  • Structural Materials research for safe Long Term Operation of LWR NPPs
    (STRUMAT-LTO, EU, HORIZON 2020, 2020-2024)
  • Physical modelling and modelling-oriented experiments for structural materials 2
    (IOANIS2, EERA-JPNM Pilote project, 2023 - 2027, coordinator HZDR)
  • In-situ experiments for nuclear applications
    (INSITEX, EERA-JPNM Pilote project, 2023 - 2027)