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Title: Multi-scale chemo-mechanical evolution during crystallization of mixed conducting SrTi 0.65 Fe 0.35 O 3−δ films and correlation to electrical conductivity
Recent work has demonstrated a low-temperature route to fabricating mixed ionic/electronic conducting (MIEC) thin films with enhanced oxygen exchange kinetics by crystallizing amorphous-grown thin films under mild temperatures, eluding conditions for deleterious A-site cation surface segregation. Yet, the complex, multiscale chemical and structural changes during MIEC crystallization and their implications for the electrical properties remain relatively unexplored. In this work, micro-structural and atomic-scale structural and chemical changes in crystallizing SrTi 0.65 Fe 0.35 O 3− δ thin films on insulating (0001)-oriented Al 2 O 3 substrates are observed and correlated to changes in the in-plane electrical conductivity, measured in situ by ac impedance spectroscopy. Synchrotron X-ray absorption spectroscopy at the Fe and Ti K-edges gives direct evidence of oxidation occurring with the onset of crystallization and insight into the atomic-scale structural changes driven by the chemical changes. The observed oxidation, increase in B-site polyhedra symmetry, and alignment of neighboring B-site cation coordination units demonstrate increases in both hole concentration and mobility, thus underpinning the measured increase of in-plane conductivity by over two orders of magnitude during crystallization. High resolution transmission electron microscopy and spectroscopy of films at various degrees of crystallinity reveal compositional uniformity with extensive nano-porosity in the crystallized more » films, consistent with solid phase contraction expected from both oxidation and crystallization. We suggest that this chemo-mechanically driven dynamic nano-structuring is an additional contributor to the observed electrical behavior. By the point that the films become ∼60% crystalline (according to X-ray diffraction), the conductivity reaches the value of dense, fully crystalline films. Given the resulting high electronic conductivity, this low-temperature processing route leading to semi-crystalline hierarchical films exhibits promise for developing high performance MIECs for low-to-intermediate temperature applications. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1720633
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10330218
Journal Name:
Journal of Materials Chemistry A
Volume:
10
Issue:
5
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
2421 to 2433
ISSN:
2050-7488
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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