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Creators/Authors contains: "Gadre, Chaitanya A"

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  1. Abstract

    Oxide solid electrolytes (OSEs) have the potential to achieve improved safety and energy density for lithium-ion batteries, but their high grain-boundary (GB) resistance generally is a bottleneck. In the well-studied perovskite oxide solid electrolyte, Li3xLa2/3-xTiO3(LLTO), the ionic conductivity of grain boundaries is about three orders of magnitude lower than that of the bulk. In contrast, the related Li0.375Sr0.4375Ta0.75Zr0.25O3(LSTZ0.75) perovskite exhibits low grain boundary resistance for reasons yet unknown. Here, we use aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy and spectroscopy, along with an active learning moment tensor potential, to reveal the atomic scale structure and composition of LSTZ0.75 grain boundaries. Vibrational electron energy loss spectroscopy is applied for the first time to reveal atomically resolved vibrations at grain boundaries of LSTZ0.75 and to characterize the otherwise unmeasurable Li distribution therein. We find that Li depletion, which is a major reason for the low grain boundary ionic conductivity of LLTO, is absent for the grain boundaries of LSTZ0.75. Instead, the low grain boundary resistivity of LSTZ0.75 is attributed to the formation of a nanoscale defective cubic perovskite interfacial structure that contained abundant vacancies. Our study provides new insights into the atomic scale mechanisms of low grain boundary resistivity.

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  2. Abstract Spatially resolved vibrational mapping of nanostructures is indispensable to the development and understanding of thermal nanodevices 1 , modulation of thermal transport 2 and novel nanostructured thermoelectric materials 3–5 . Through the engineering of complex structures, such as alloys, nanostructures and superlattice interfaces, one can significantly alter the propagation of phonons and suppress material thermal conductivity while maintaining electrical conductivity 2 . There have been no correlative experiments that spatially track the modulation of phonon properties in and around nanostructures due to spatial resolution limitations of conventional optical phonon detection techniques. Here we demonstrate two-dimensional spatial mapping of phonons in a single silicon–germanium (SiGe) quantum dot (QD) using monochromated electron energy loss spectroscopy in the transmission electron microscope. Tracking the variation of the Si optical mode in and around the QD, we observe the nanoscale modification of the composition-induced red shift. We observe non-equilibrium phonons that only exist near the interface and, furthermore, develop a novel technique to differentially map phonon momenta, providing direct evidence that the interplay between diffuse and specular reflection largely depends on the detailed atomistic structure: a major advancement in the field. Our work unveils the non-equilibrium phonon dynamics at nanoscale interfaces and can be used to study actual nanodevices and aid in the understanding of heat dissipation near nanoscale hotspots, which is crucial for future high-performance nanoelectronics. 
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  3. Abstract

    Two-dimensional electron gas or hole gas (2DEG or 2DHG) and their functionalities at artificial heterostructure interfaces have attracted extensive attention in recent years. Many theoretical calculations and recent experimental studies have shown the formation of alternating 2DEG and 2DHG at ferroelectric/insulator interfaces, such as BiFeO3/TbScO3, depending on the different polarization states. However, a direct observation based on the local charge distribution at the BiFeO3/TbScO3interface has yet to be explored. Herein we demonstrate the direct observation of 2DHG and 2DEG at BiFeO3/TbScO3interface using four-dimensional scanning transmission electron microscopy and Bader charge analysis. The results show that the measured charge state of each Fe/O columns at the interface undergoes a significant increase/reduction for the polarization state pointing away/toward the interface, indicating the existence of 2DHG/2DEG. This method opens up a path of directly observing charge at atomic scale and provides new insights into the design of future electronic nanodevices.

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