'Illusional' nano-size effect due to artifacts of in-plane conductivity measurements of ultra-thin films.
ABSTRACT The nano-size effect, which indicates a drastic increase in conductivity in solid electrolyte materials of nano-scale microstructures, has drawn substantial attention in various research fields including in the field of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). However, especially in the cases of the conductivity of ultra-thin films measured in an in-plane configuration, it is highly possible that the 'apparent' conductivity increase originates from electrical current flowing through other conduction paths than the thin film. As a systematic study to interrogate those measurement artifacts, we report various sources of electrical current leaks regarding in-plane conductivity measurements, specifically insulators in the measurement set-up. We have observed a 'great conductivity increase' up to an order of magnitude at a very thin thickness of a single layer yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) film in a set-up with an intentional artifact current flow source. Here we propose that the nano-size effect, reported to appear in ultra-thin single layer YSZ, can be a result of misinterpretation.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Fully dense nanocrystalline ceria films were successfully deposited on a MgO single crystal by pulsed laser deposition (PLD). The electrical conductivity of the nanocrystalline thin film was 20 times higher than that of the bulk sample. The activation energy of bulk ceria was 2.3 eV, whereas the activation energy of the nanocrystalline sample was only 1.2 eV. After post-annealing at 1273 K in which the grain size of the nanocrystalline thin film increased to ∼400 nm, the electrical conductivity and activation energy of the film were changed similar to those of bulk. These unique electrical properties of the nano-crystalline thin-film can be attributed to the grain size effect, or more specifically, to the space charge layer (SCL) effect. Furthermore, the electrical conductivity of the nanocrystalline thin film became similar to that of the bulk in an extremely reducing atmosphere because of the unusual dependence of the SCL effect on the oxygen partial pressure.Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 08/2013; · 3.83 Impact Factor
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Thin YSZ films were prepared on magnesia, sapphire and strontium titanate (STO) single crystals using pulsed laser deposition and, for comparison, by a sol-gel method on STO. The bulk and interfacial mass and charge transport properties of these films were investigated by complementary impedance spectroscopy and tracer diffusion measurements. In this context, a novel two-step tracer diffusion experiment is introduced. For YSZ films on sapphire and magnesia, grain bulk conductivities similar to those of polycrystalline samples were measured in most cases. Strongly blocking grain boundaries could be identified by impedance measurements. The films on sapphire and magnesia also exhibited good agreement between effective transport properties of impedance and tracer measurements. YSZ layers on strontium titanate single crystals, on the other hand, showed a strongly increased effective conductivity in impedance studies. However, in tracer diffusion experiments this could be unambiguously attributed to conduction in the substrate while the diffusion coefficient of YSZ on STO was comparable to that of YSZ films on other substrates. Moreover, the tracer diffusion experiments did not indicate any significant increase of oxide ion mobility on a free YSZ surface compared to a Pt|YSZ interface.Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 12/2012; · 3.83 Impact Factor