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  1. Abstract Self-assembled systems have recently attracted extensive attention because they can display a wide range of phase morphologies in nanocomposites, providing a new arena to explore novel phenomena. Among these morphologies, a bicontinuous structure is highly desirable based on its high interface-to-volume ratio and 3D interconnectivity. A bicontinuous nickel oxide (NiO) and tin dioxide (SnO 2 ) heteroepitaxial nanocomposite is revealed here. By controlling their concentration, we fabricated tuneable self-assembled nanostructures from pillars to bicontinuous structures, as evidenced by TEM-energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy with a tortuous compositional distribution. The experimentally observed growth modes are consistent with predictions by first-principles calculations. Phase-field simulations are performed to understand 3D microstructure formation and extract key thermodynamic parameters for predicting microstructure morphologies in SnO 2 :NiO nanocomposites of other concentrations. Furthermore, we demonstrate significantly enhanced photovoltaic properties in a bicontinuous SnO 2 :NiO nanocomposite macroscopically and microscopically. This research shows a pathway to developing innovative solar cell and photodetector devices based on self-assembled oxides. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
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  4. Abstract

    Spin‐state transitions are an important research topic in complex oxides with the diverse magnetic states involved. In particular, the low‐spin to high‐spin transition in LaCoO3thin films has drawn a wide range of attention due to the emergent ferromagnetic state. Although various mechanisms (e.g., structural distortion, oxygen‐vacancy formation, spin‐state ordering) have been proposed, an understanding of what really underlies the emergent ferromagnetism remains elusive. Here, the ferromagnetism in LaCoO3thin films is systematically modulated by varying the oxygen pressure during thin‐film growth. Although the samples show dramatic different magnetization, their cobalt valence state and perovskite crystalline structure remain almost unchanged, ruling out the scenarios of both oxygen‐vacancy and spin‐ordering. This work provides compelling evidence that the tetragonal distortion due to the tensile strain significantly modifies the orbital occupancy, leading to a low‐spin to high‐spin transition with emergent ferromagnetism, while samples grown at reduced pressure demonstrate a pronounced lattice expansion due to cation‐off‐stoichiometry, which suppresses the tetragonal distortion and the consequent magnetization. This result not only provides important insight for the understanding of exotic ferromagnetism in LaCoO3thin films, but also identifies a promising strategy to design electronic states in complex oxides through cation‐stoichiometry engineering.

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  5. Dielectric capacitors with ultrahigh power densities are fundamental energy storage components in electrical and electronic systems. However, a long-standing challenge is improving their energy densities. We report dielectrics with ultrahigh energy densities designed with polymorphic nanodomains. Guided by phase-field simulations, we conceived and synthesized lead-free BiFeO 3 -BaTiO 3 -SrTiO 3 solid-solution films to realize the coexistence of rhombohedral and tetragonal nanodomains embedded in a cubic matrix. We obtained minimized hysteresis while maintaining high polarization and achieved a high energy density of 112 joules per cubic centimeter with a high energy efficiency of ~80%. This approach should be generalizable for designing high-performance dielectrics and other functional materials that benefit from nanoscale domain structure manipulation. 
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