Fan’s PhD research with Associate Professor Bilge Yildiz and Professor Emeritus Sidney Yip in NSE at MIT focuses on developing and applying innovative computational paradigms to better understand long-time-scale evolution in irradiated materials, which is an important consideration for advanced reactors that are being designed for longer life times while operating in more extreme conditions of temperature, chemical activity and irradiation.
The interaction and migration of radiation-induced defects is a critical factor governing the microstructural evolution, which in turn determines the degradation of the structural material. Understanding how these defects evolve over long time scales (tens of years) is crucial for development of advanced materials. The essence of Fan’s approach to this challenge is to explore the potential energy landscape and the corresponding atomic trajectories of the system while the material dynamically evolves during irradiation. This method has been successfully applied to a series of studies, including the interaction mechanism between dislocation and obstacle under various conditions, and the strain rate effect on the yield strength of structural materials.