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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 4, 2024
  2. Abstract

    The rocksalt structured (Co,Cu,Mg,Ni,Zn)O entropy-stabilized oxide (ESO) exhibits a reversible phase transformation that leads to the formation of Cu-rich tenorite and Co-rich spinel secondary phases. Using atom probe tomography, kinetic analysis, and thermodynamic modeling, we uncover the nucleation and growth mechanisms governing the formation of these two secondary phases. We find that these phases do not nucleate directly, but rather they first form Cu-rich and Co-rich precursor phases, which nucleate in regions rich in Cu and cation vacancies, respectively. These precursor phases then grow through cation diffusion and exhibit a rocksalt-like crystal structure. The Cu-rich precursor phase subsequently transforms into the Cu-rich tenorite phase through a structural distortion-based transformation, while the Co-rich precursor phase transforms into the Co-rich spinel phase through a defect-mediated transformation. Further growth of the secondary phases is controlled by cation diffusion within the primary rocksalt phase, whose diffusion behavior resembles other common rocksalt oxides.

    Graphical abstract

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  3. Abstract High-entropy oxides (HEO) with entropic stabilization and compositional flexibility have great potential application in batteries and catalysis. In this work, HEO thin films were synthesized by pulsed laser deposition (PLD) from a rock-salt (Co 0.2 Ni 0.2 Cu 0.2 Mg 0.2 Zn 0.2 )O ceramic target. The films exhibited the target’s crystal structure, were chemically homogeneous, and possessed a three-dimensional (3D) island morphology with connected randomly shaped nanopores. The effects of varying PLD laser fluence on crystal structure and morphology were explored systematically. Increasing fluence facilitates film crystallization at low substrate temperature (300 °C) and increases film thickness (60–140 nm). The lateral size of columnar grains, islands (19 nm to 35 nm in average size), and nanopores (9.3 nm to 20 nm in average size) increased with increasing fluence (3.4 to 7.0 J/cm 2 ), explained by increased kinetic energy of adatoms and competition between deposition and diffusion. Additionally, increasing fluence reduces the number of undesirable droplets observed on the film surface. The nanoporous HEO films can potentially serve as electrochemical reaction interfaces with tunable surface area and excellent phase stability. Graphical abstract 
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