Project Goal: To develop magnetic resonance, x-ray absorption, electron diffraction, and electrical conductivity measurements to better characterize dilute concentrations of point defects in oxide materials and effectively correlate electro-mechanical properties to measured defect chemistry.
Oxide materials are used in diverse applications that include random access memory, solid oxide fuel cells, solid state refrigeration, and micro-actuators to name only a few. Because these applications require an electric bias or mechanical stimulus, ion diffusion is a prevalent process (typically in the form of vacancy diffusion). Fast-ion diffusion can be a desired or engineered phenomenon in the case of oxide fuel cells or oxygen sensors, or ion diffusion can result in local changes to composition resulting in a negative effect on performance and reliability over time. Accurate measurement of the mobility and local interaction of ionic charge carriers in a given system is dependent on effective analysis of the underlying defect chemistry. Better measurement of defect chemistry will facilitate advanced prediction of properties and help design improved materials for a given application.