The impact of heavy-ion produced defects on the mobility of dislocations, dislocation sources and newly generated dislocations in 304 stainless steel are discovered by performing irradiation and deformation experiments in real time in the transmission electron microscope. Dislocations mobile prior to the irradiation are effectively locked in position by the irradiation, but the irradiation has no discernible impact on the ability of a source to generate dislocations. The motion and mobility of a dislocation is altered by the irradiation. It becomes irregular and jerky and the mobility increases slowly with time as the radiation-produced defects are annihilated locally. Channels created by dislocations ejected from grain boundary dislocation sources were found to have a natural width, as the emission sites within the boundary were spaced close together. Finally, the distribution of dislocations, basically, an inverse dislocation pile-up, within a cleared channel suggests a new mechanism for generating high local levels of stress at grain boundaries. The impact of these observations on the mechanical properties of irradiated materials is discussed briefly.
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