Amorphous ceramics are a unique class of materials with unusual properties and functionalities. While these materials are known to crystallize when subjected to thermal annealing, they have sometimes been observed to crystallize athermally when exposed to extreme irradiation environments. Because irradiation is almost universally understood to introduce disorder into materials, these observations of irradiation-induced ordering or crystallization are unusual and may partially explain the limited research into this phenomenon. However, the archival literature presents a growing body of evidence of these irradiation-induced amorphous-to-crystalline (a-to-c) phase transformations in ceramics. In this perspective, the summary and review of examples from the literature of irradiation-induced a-to-c transformations for various classifications of ceramics are provided. This work will highlight irradiation conditions and material parameters that appear most influential for activating a-to-c transformations, identify trends, examine possible mechanisms, and discuss the impact of a-to-c transformations on material properties. Finally, future research directions that will enable researchers to harness a-to-c transformations to tailor materials behaviors will be provided.
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Koroni, Cyrus; Olsen, Tristan; Wharry, Janelle P.; and Xiong, Hui. (2022). "Irradiation-Induced Amorphous-to-Crystalline Phase Transformations in Ceramic Materials". Materials, 15(17), 5924. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma15175924