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Nat Commun. 2012 Apr 24;3:799. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1799.

Prominent electrochromism through vacancy-order melting in a complex oxide.

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  • 1Materials Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


Electrochromes are materials that have the ability to reversibly change from one colour state to another with the application of an electric field. Electrochromic colouration efficiency is typically large in organic materials that are not very stable chemically. Here we show that inorganic Bi(0.9)Ca(0.1)FeO(3-0.05) thin films exhibit a prominent electrochromic effect arising from an intrinsic mechanism due to the melting of oxygen-vacancy ordering and the associated redistribution of carriers. We use a combination of optical characterization techniques in conjunction with high-resolution transmission electron microscopy and first-principles theory. The absorption change and colouration efficiency at the band edge (blue-cyan region) are 4.8×10(6) m(-1) and 190 cm(2) C(-1), respectively, which are the highest reported values for inorganic electrochromes, even exceeding values of some organic materials.

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