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  1. Sn(II)-based perovskite oxides, being the subject of longstanding theoretical interest for the past two decades, have been synthesized for the first time in the form of nano eggshell particle morphologies. All past reported synthetic attempts have been unsuccessful owing to their metastable nature, i.e. , by their thermodynamic instability towards decomposition to their constituent oxides. A new approach was discovered that finally provides an effective solution to surmounting this intractable synthetic barrier and which can be the key to unlocking the door to many other predicted metastable oxides. A low-melting KSn2Cl5 salt was utilized to achieve a soft topotactic exchange of Sn(II) cations into a Ba-containing perovskite, i.e., BaHfO3 with particle sizes of ∼350 nm, at a low reaction temperature of 200 °C. The resulting particles exhibit nanoshell-over-nanoshell morphologies, i.e., with SnHfO3 forming as ∼20 nm thick shells over the surfaces of the BaHfO3 eggshell particles. Formation of the metastable SnHfO3 is found to be thermodynamically driven by the co-production of the highly stable BaCl2 and KCl side products. Despite this, total energy calculations show that Sn(II) distorts from the A-site asymmetrically and randomly and the interdiffusion has a negligible impact on the energy of the system (i.e., layered vs.more »solid solution). Additionally, nano eggshell particle morphologies of BaHfO3 were found to yield highly pure SnHfO3 for the first time, thus circumventing the intrinsic ion-diffusion limits occurring at this low reaction temperature. In summary, these results demonstrate that the metastability of many theoretically predicted Sn(II)-perovskites can be overcome by leveraging the high cohesive energies of the reactants, the exothermic formation of a stable salt side product, and a shortened diffusion pathway for the Sn(II) cations.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 15, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 13, 2023
  3. This Perspective addresses the current state-of-the-art with the development of multinary oxides—a family of compounds that has long interested Prof. John B. Goodenough. Specifically, here we focus on their use as photoelectrodes for solar fuels generation. Using optical data and assuming an idealized 100% incident photon-to-electron conversion efficiency, it is possible to project the maximum short circuit photocurrent efficiency to be expected for a given oxide semiconductor. The performance gap between this theoretical value and that realized experimentally, is shown to be sizable for all but a couple of candidates. The technical issues underlying this gap and strategies for closing it are presented below.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  5. Surface functionalized barium titanate (BaTiO 3 ) nanocrystals have been explored for highly tunable chemical and electronic properties, potentially of use in ceramic-polymer composites for flexible ferroelectric device applications, directed synthesis of ferroelectric thin films or other nano-architectures, and other potential applications. The detailed temperature dependent local structure evolution of BaTiO 3 nanocubes capped with nonpolar oleic acid (OA) and polar tetrafluoroborate (BF 4 − ) ligands are investigated using in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction and pair distribution function (PDF) analysis, in conjunction with piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM) and 137 Ba nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy measurements. Diffraction analysis reveals that nanocubes capped by polar BF 4 − ligands undergo sharper ferroelectric to paraelectric phase transitions than nanocubes capped with nonpolar OA ligands, with the smallest ∼12 nm nanocubes displaying no transition. Local non-centrosymmetric symmetry is observed by PDF analysis and confirmed by NMR, persisting across the phase transition temperature. Local distortion analysis, manifested in tetragonality ( c / a ) and Ti off-centering ( z Ti ) parameters, reveals distinct temperature and length-scale dependencies with particle size and capping group. Ferroelectric order is increased by polar BF 4 − ligands, which is corroborated by an enhancement of PFM response.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 20, 2023
  6. Noncentrosymmetric hybrid framework (HF) materials are an important system in discovering new practical second-order nonlinear optical materials. We calculated the second harmonic generation (SHG) response of a noncentrosymmetric (NCS) organic–inorganic HF compound, CuMoO3(p2c) (p2c = pyrazine-2-carboxylate) to find that it exhibits the largest SHG response among all known NCS HF materials with one-dimensional helical chains. Further atom response theory analysis revealed that the metal atoms Cu and Mo contribute much more strongly than do nonmetal atoms in determining the strength of the SHG response, which is a novel example in nonlinear optical materials known to date.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  7. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 7, 2023
  8. A p-type Cu3Ta7O19 semiconductor was synthesized using a CuCl flux-based approach and investigated for its crystalline structure and photoelectrochemical properties. The semiconductor was found to be metastable, i.e., thermodynamically unstable, and to slowly oxidize at its surfaces upon heating in air, yielding CuO as nano-sized islands. However, the bulk crystalline structure was maintained, with up to 50% Cu(I)-vacancies and a concomitant oxidation of the Cu(I) to Cu(II) cations within the structure. Thermogravimetric and magnetic susceptibility measurements showed the formation of increasing amounts of Cu(II) cations, according to the following reaction: Cu3Ta7O19 + x/2 O2 → Cu(3−x)Ta7O19 + x CuO (surface) (x = 0 to ~0.8). With minor amounts of surface oxidation, the cathodic photocurrents of the polycrystalline films increase significantly, from <0.1 mA cm−2 up to >0.5 mA cm−2, under visible-light irradiation (pH = 6.3; irradiant powder density of ~500 mW cm−2) at an applied bias of −0.6 V vs. SCE. Electronic structure calculations revealed that its defect tolerance arises from the antibonding nature of its valence band edge, with the formation of defect states in resonance with the valence band, rather than as mid-gap states that function as recombination centers. Thus, the metastable Cu(I)-containing semiconductor was demonstrated to possessmore »a high defect tolerance, which facilitates its high cathodic photocurrents.« less