Probing Grain-Boundary Chemistry and Electronic Structure in Proton-Conducting Oxides by Atom Probe Tomography

Daniel R. Clark, Huayang Zhu, David R. Diercks, Sandrine Ricote, Robert J. Kee, Ali Almansoori, Brian P. Gorman, Ryan P. O'Hayre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

A laser-assisted atom-probe-tomographic (LAAPT) method has been developed and applied to measure and characterize the three-dimensional atomic and electronic nanostructure at an yttrium-doped barium zirconate (BaZr0.9Y0.1O3-δ, BZY10) grain boundary. Proton-conducting perovskites, such as BZY10, are attracting intense interest for a variety of energy conversion applications. However, their implementation has been hindered, in part, because of high grain-boundary (GB) resistance that is attributed to a positive GB space-charge layer (SCL). In this study, LAAPT is used to analyze BZY10 GB chemistry in three dimensions with subnanometer resolution. From this analysis, maps of the charge density and electrostatic potential arising at the GBs are derived, revealing for the first time direct chemical evidence that a positive SCL indeed exists at these GBs. These maps reveal new insights on the inhomogeneity of the SCL region and produce an average GB potential barrier of approximately 580 mV, agreeing with previous indirect electrochemical measurements.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)6924-6930
Number of pages7
JournalNano Letters
Volume16
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 9 Nov 2016

Keywords

  • Atom probe tomography
  • grain boundary characterization
  • proton-conducting ceramics
  • space-charge layer

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