Topotactically transformable antiphase boundaries with enhanced ionic conductivity

K Xu and SW Hung and WL Si and YS Wu and CR Huo and P Yu and XY Zhong and J Zhu, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 14, 7382 (2023).

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-43086-5

Engineering lattice defects have emerged as a promising approach to effectively modulate the functionality of devices. Particularly, antiphase boundaries (APBs) as planar defects have been considered major obstacles to optimizing the ionic conductivity of mixed ionic-electronic conductors (MIECs) in solid oxide fuel applications. Here our study identifies topotactically transformable APBs (tt-APBs) at the atomic level and demonstrates that they exhibit higher ionic conductivity at elevated temperatures as compared to perfect domains. In-situ observation at the atomic scale tracks dynamic oxygen migration across these tt-APBs, where the abundant interstitial sites between tetrahedrons facilitate the ionic migration. Furthermore, annealing in an oxidized atmosphere can lead to the formation of interstitial oxygen at these APBs. These pieces of evidence clearly clarify that the tt-APBs can contribute to oxygen conductivity as anion diffusion channels, while the topotactically non-transformable APBs cannot. The topotactic transformability opens the way of defect engineering strategies for improving ionic transportation in MIECs. Antiphase boundaries (APBs) have been considered major obstacles to optimizing the ionic conductivity of conductors. Here authors reveal that ionic conductivity can be enhanced through engineering APBs by topotactical transformation at the atomic scale.

Return to Publications page