Anisotropic oxygen diffusion at low temperature in perovskite-structure iron oxides

Nat Chem. 2010 Mar;2(3):213-7. doi: 10.1038/nchem.547. Epub 2010 Feb 7.


Oxygen-ion conduction in transition-metal oxides is exploited in, for example, electrolytes in solid-oxide fuel cells and oxygen-separation membranes, which currently work at high temperatures. Conduction at low temperature is a key to developing further utilization, and an understanding of the structures that enable conduction is also important to gain insight into oxygen-diffusion pathways. Here we report the structural changes observed when single-crystalline, epitaxial CaFeO₂.₅ thin films were changed into CaFeO₂ by low-temperature reductions with CaH₂. During the reduction process from the brownmillerite CaFeO₂.₅ into the infinite-layer structure of CaFeO₂, some of the oxygen atoms are released from and others are rearranged within the perovskite-structure framework. We evaluated these changes and the reaction time they required, and found two oxygen diffusion pathways and the related kinetics at low temperature. The results demonstrate that oxygen diffusion in the brownmillerite is highly anisotropic, significantly higher along the lateral direction of the tetrahedral and octahedral layers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't