Nanostructured (NS) materials may have different irradiation resistance from their coarse-grained (CG) counterparts. In this review, we focus on the effect of grain boundaries (GBs)/interfaces on irradiation induced microstructure evolution and the irradiation tolerance of NS materials under irradiation. The features of void denuded zones (VDZs) and the unusual behavior of void formation near GBs/interfaces in metals due to the interactions between GBs/interfaces and irradiation-produced point defects are systematically reviewed. Some experimental results and calculation results show that NS materials have enhanced irradiation resistance, due to their extremely small grain sizes and large volume fractions of GBs/interfaces, which could absorb and annihilate the mobile defects produced during irradiation. However, there is also literature reporting reduced irradiation resistance or even amorphization of NS materials at a lower irradiation dose compared with their bulk counterparts, since the GBs are also characterized by excess energy (compared to that of single crystal materials) which could provide a shift in the total free energy that will lead to the amorphization process. The competition of these two effects leads to the different irradiation tolerance of NS materials. The irradiation-induced grain growth is dominated by irradiation temperature, dose, ion flux, character of GBs/interface and nanoprecipitates, although the decrease of grain sizes under irradiation is also observed in some experiments.
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