Controlling properties of functional oxides by tuning oxygen defect chemistry
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
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Oxygen defects are essential building blocks for properties and functionalities of oxides, including electrical conductivity, magnetism, ferroelectricity as well as catalytic and electrocatalytic activity. Therefore, fundamental understanding of how to tune the oxygen defect chemistry is essential for advancing applications based on these defect sensitive properties. This thesis investigated pathways to controlling the concentration and structure of oxygen defects on selected case studies with model oxide systems. Three novel effects were assessed and shown to be operative for obtaining a large impact on the oxygen defect chemistry equilibria. These are heterogeneous chemical doping of the surface for improving surface electrocatalytic activity and stability, electrochemical bias to control phase with drastic changes obtained in electronic and phonon transport properties, as well as strain engineering to alter the oxygen interstitial capacity and oxygen exchange kinetics. Surface chemical modifications were applied to the near-surface regions of Lao.8Sro.2CoO 3 (LSC) by replacing the Co cations locally with less reducible cations, such as Hf and Ti. This strategy was shown to effectively stabilize the LSC surfaces and suppress surface segregation of Sr at elevated temperatures. This introduced surface stability by local chemical doping greatly enhanced the long-term electrochemical performance of LSC electrode, which provides a new route for improving the efficiency of solid oxide fuel and electrolysis cells. Applying electrical bias was investigated as another effective method to tune the oxygen stoichiometry, exemplified by the case studies on SrCoOx (SCO). In situ X-ray diffraction was used to investigate the topotactic phase transition between brownmillerite phase SrCoO2.5 (BM-SCO) and perovskite phase SrCoO 3 6 (P-SCO) triggered electrochemically at elevated temperatures. An electrical bias of merely 30 mV was shown sufficient to trigger the BM-->P phase transition. This is much more feasible than chemically induced phase transition, which requires high pressure (> 1 bar) and specialized pressurized apparatus. Moreover, the evolution of electronic structure during the BM4P phase transition was probed in operando by using ambient-pressure X-ray photoelectron and absorption spectroscopy (AP-XPS/XAS). The similar experimental scheme, which combines in operando surface characterizations and electrochemical controlling of oxygen stoichiometry, was extended to oxide systems beyond perovskites. This allows us to investigate the defect chemistry of oxides in a much broader range of effective oxygen partial pressure than what conventional methods can achieve. Firstly, we showed that the surface defect chemistry equilibrium of fluoritestructured Pro.iCeo.902-6 (PCO) strongly deviated from the bulk counterpart, due to the possibly enhanced defect-defect interactions or lattice strain effect at surfaces. Secondly, we found a novel metal-insulator transition triggered electrochemically in VO, by changing the phase between the metallic dioxide VO2 and the insulating pentoxide V2O5 Lastly, we lowered the operation temperature of this electrochemical control of oxygen stoichiometry down to room temperature by using ionic liquid or ion gels as the electrolyte. We achieved tuning of thermal conductivity in SrCoOx with a range of more than one order of magnitude, by using electrochemically triggered phase transitions at room temperature. We also investigated the effect of lattice strain on oxygen defect formation energy in Ruddlesden-Popper (RP) phase oxide Nd2NiO4+6 (NNO). We found that tensile strain along the c-axis of NNO lattice effectively reduced the formation enthalpy of oxygen interstitials, which can provide a new route for designing the defect chemistry of RP phase oxide for electrocatalytic applications..
Thesis: Ph. D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, 2018.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 164-192).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Materials Science and Engineering.