6H-SiC and 3C-SiC single crystals were simultaneously irradiated at room temperature with 100 keV Fe ions at fluences up to 4 × 1014 cm−2 (~0.7 dpa), i.e. up to amorphization. The disordering behaviour of both polytypes has been investigated by means of Rutherford backscattering spectrometry in the channelling mode and synchrotron x-ray diffraction. For the first time, it is experimentally demonstrated that the general damage build-up is similar in both polytypes. At low dose, irradiation induces the formation of small interstitial-type defects. With increasing dose, amorphous domains start to form at the expense of the defective crystalline regions. Full amorphization of the irradiated layer is achieved at the same dose (~0.45 dpa) for both polytypes. It is also shown that the interstitial-type defects formed during the first irradiation stage induce a tensile elastic strain (up to ~4.0%) with which is associated an elastic energy. It is conjectured that this stored energy destabilizes the current defective microstructure observed at low dose and stimulates the formation of the amorphous nanostructures at higher dose. Finally, the disorder accumulation has been successfully reproduced with two models (namely multi-step damage accumulation and direct-impact/defect-stimulated). Results obtained from this modelling are compared and discussed in the light of experimental data.
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