Overview of radiation damage mechanisms in materials
Harvesting energy from any particles with kinetic energies exceeding the energy of chemical bonds, i.e. energies above a few eV, raises the possibility that the particles introduce permanent damage in the materials used for the conversion. The mechanisms by which energetic particles have been examined systematically since the 1950's, and are very well understood in some cases, and
poorly in others. In this talk, I briefly review the basic physics understanding, stemming both from experiments and simulations, of radiation effects induced in hard condensed matter by ions and photons. I also consider as a specific case study what kind of damage is expected to be produced by solar wind protons in semiconductor materials.