Microstructure design for fast oxygen conduction

DS Aidhy and WJ Weber, JOURNAL OF MATERIALS RESEARCH, 31, 2-16 (2016).

DOI: 10.1557/jmr.2015.327

In the past decade, the research in designing fast oxygen conducting materials for electrochemical applications has largely shifted to microstructural features, in contrast to material-bulk. In particular, understanding oxygen energetics in heterointerface materials is currently at the forefront, where interfacial tensile strain is being considered as the key parameter in lowering oxygen migration barriers. Nanocrystalline materials with high densities of grain boundaries have also gathered interest that could possibly allow leverage over excess volume at grain boundaries, providing fast oxygen diffusion channels similar to those previously observed in metals. In addition, near- interface phase transformations and misfit dislocations are other microstructural phenomenon/features that are being explored to provide faster diffusion. In this review, the current understanding on oxygen energetics, i.e., thermodynamics and kinetics, originating from these microstructural features is discussed. Experimental observations, theoretical predictions and novel atomistic mechanisms relevant to oxygen transport are highlighted. In addition, the interaction of dopants with oxygen vacancies in the presence of these new microstructural features, and their future role in the design of future fast-ion conductors, is outlined.

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