Size-dependent disproportionation (in similar to 2-20 nm regime) and hybrid Bond Valence derived interatomic potentials for BaTaO2N

K Anbalagan and T Thomas, APPLIED NANOSCIENCE, 8, 1379-1388 (2018).

DOI: 10.1007/s13204-018-0785-x

Interatomic potentials for complex materials (like ceramic systems) are important for realistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Such simulations are relevant for understanding equilibrium, transport and dynamical properties of materials, especially in the nanoregime. Here we derive a hybrid interatomic potential (based on bond valence (BV) derived Morse and Coulomb terms), for modeling a complex ceramic, barium tantalum oxynitride (BaTaO2N). This material has been chosen due to its relevance for capacitive and photoactive applications. However, the material presents processing challenges such as the emergence of non- stoichiometric phases during processing, demonstrating complex processing-property correlations. This makes MD investigations of this material both scientifically and technologically relevant. The BV based hybrid potential presented here has been used for simulating sintering of BaTaO2N nanoparticles (similar to 2-20 nm) under different conditions (using the relevant canonical ensemble). Notably, we show that sintering of particles of diameter <10 nm requires no external sintering aids such as the addition of barium sources (since stoichiometry is preserved during heat treatment in this size regime). Also, we observe that sintering of particles > 10 nm in size results in the formation of a cluster of tantalum and oxygen atoms at the interface of the BaTaO2N particles. This is in agreement with the experimental reports. The results presented here suggest that the potential proposed can be used to explore dynamical properties of BaTaO2N and related systems. This work will also open avenues for development of nanoscience-enabled aid- free sintering approaches to this and related materials.

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