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  1. The Ruddlesden–Popper (RP) layered perovskite structure is of great interest due to its inherent tunability, and the emergence and growth of the compositionally complex oxide (CCO) concept endows the RP family with further possibilities. Here, a comprehensive assessment of thermodynamic stabilization, local order/disorder, and lattice distortion was performed in the first two reported examples of lanthanum-deficient Lan+1BnO3n+1 (n = 1, B = Mg, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn) obtained via various processing conditions. Chemical short-range order (CSRO) at the B-site and the controllable excess interstitial oxygen (δ) in RP-CCOs are uncovered by neutron pair distribution function analysis. Reverse Monte Carlo analysis of the data, Metropolis Monte Carlo simulations, and extended x-ray absorption fine structure analysis implies a modest degree of magnetic element segregation on the local scale. Further, ab initio molecular dynamics simulations results obtained from special quasirandom structure disagree with experimentally observed CSRO but confirm Jahn–Teller distortion of CuO6 octahedra. These findings highlight potential opportunities to control local order/disorder and excess interstitial oxygen in layered RP-CCOs and demonstrate a high degree of freedom for tailoring application-specific properties. They also suggest a need for expansion of theoretical and data modeling approaches in order to meet the innate challenges of CCO and related high-entropy phases.

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  2. Abstract

    Experimentally quantifying the viscoplastic rheology of olivine at the high stresses and low temperatures of the shallow lithosphere is challenging due to olivine's propensity to deform by brittle mechanisms at these conditions. In this study, we use microscale uniaxial compression tests to investigate the rheology of an olivine single crystal at room pressure and temperature. Pillars with nominal diameters of 1.25 μm were prepared using a focused ion beam milling technique and were subjected to sustained axial stresses of several gigapascal. The majority of the pillars failed after dwell times ranging from several seconds to a few hours. However, several pillars exhibited clear evidence of plastic deformation without failure after 4–8 hr under load. The corresponding creep strain rates are estimated to be on the order of 10−6to 10−7 s−1. The uniaxial stresses required to achieve this deformation (4.1–4.4 GPa) are in excellent agreement with complementary data obtained using nanoindentation techniques. Scanning transmission electron microscopy observations indicate that deformation occurred along amorphous shear bands within the deformed pillars. Electron energy loss spectroscopy measurements revealed that the bands are enriched in Fe and depleted in Mg. We propose that inhomogeneities in the cation distribution in olivine concentrate stress and promote the amorphization of the Fe‐rich regions. The time dependence of catastrophic failure events suggests that the amorphous bands must grow to some critical length scale to generate an unstable defect, such as a shear crack.

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  3. Abstract

    Clusters of nitrogen‐ and carbon‐coordinated transition metals dispersed in a carbon matrix (e. g., Fe−N−C) have emerged as an inexpensive class of electrocatalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). Here, it was shown that optimizing the interaction between the nitrogen‐coordinated transition metal clusters embedded in a more stable and corrosion‐resistant carbide matrix yielded an ORR electrocatalyst with enhanced activity and stability compared to Fe−N−C catalysts. Utilizing first‐principles calculations, an electrostatics‐based descriptor of catalytic activity was identified, and nitrogen‐coordinated iron (FeN4) clusters embedded in a TiC matrix were predicted to be an efficient platinum‐group metal (PGM)‐free ORR electrocatalyst. Guided by theory, selected catalyst formulations were synthesized, and it was demonstrated that the experimentally observed trends in activity fell exactly in line with the descriptor‐derived theoretical predictions. The Fe−N−TiC catalyst exhibited enhanced activity (20 %) and durability (3.5‐fold improvement) compared to a traditional Fe−N−C catalyst. It was posited that the electrostatics‐based descriptor provides a powerful platform for the design of active and stable PGM‐free electrocatalysts and heterogenous single‐atom catalysts for other electrochemical reactions.

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  4. Abstract

    To evaluate the role of planar defects in lead‐halide perovskites—cheap, versatile semiconducting materials—it is critical to examine their structure, including defects, at the atomic scale and develop a detailed understanding of their impact on electronic properties. In this study, postsynthesis nanocrystal fusion, aberration‐corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy, and first‐principles calculations are combined to study the nature of different planar defects formed in CsPbBr3nanocrystals. Two types of prevalent planar defects from atomic resolution imaging are observed: previously unreported Br‐rich [001](210)∑5 grain boundaries (GBs) and Ruddlesden–Popper (RP) planar faults. The first‐principles calculations reveal that neither of these planar faults induce deep defect levels, but their Br‐deficient counterparts do. It is found that the ∑5 GB repels electrons and attracts holes, similar to an n–p–n junction, and the RP planar defects repel both electrons and holes, similar to a semiconductor–insulator–semiconductor junction. Finally, the potential applications of these findings and their implications to understand the planar defects in organic–inorganic lead‐halide perovskites that have led to solar cells with extremely high photoconversion efficiencies are discussed.

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  5. Abstract

    Ultrathin epitaxial films of ferromagnetic insulators (FMIs) with Curie temperatures near room temperature are critically needed for use in dissipationless quantum computation and spintronic devices. However, such materials are extremely rare. Here, a room‐temperature FMI is achieved in ultrathin La0.9Ba0.1MnO3films grown on SrTiO3substrates via an interface proximity effect. Detailed scanning transmission electron microscopy images clearly demonstrate that MnO6octahedral rotations in La0.9Ba0.1MnO3close to the interface are strongly suppressed. As determined from in situ X‐ray photoemission spectroscopy, OK‐edge X‐ray absorption spectroscopy, and density functional theory, the realization of the FMI state arises from a reduction of Mn egbandwidth caused by the quenched MnO6octahedral rotations. The emerging FMI state in La0.9Ba0.1MnO3together with necessary coherent interface achieved with the perovskite substrate gives very high potential for future high performance electronic devices.

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