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Science. 2008 Aug 1;321(5889):676-80. doi: 10.1126/science.1156393.

Colossal ionic conductivity at interfaces of epitaxial ZrO2:Y2O3/SrTiO3 heterostructures.

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Grupo de FĂ­sica de Materiales Complejos, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid 28040, Spain.


The search for electrolyte materials with high oxygen conductivities is a key step toward reducing the operation temperature of fuel cells, which is currently above 700 degrees C. We report a high lateral ionic conductivity, showing up to eight orders of magnitude enhancement near room temperature, in yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ)/strontium titanate epitaxial heterostructures. The enhancement of the conductivity is observed, along with a YSZ layer thickness-independent conductance, showing that it is an interface process. We propose that the atomic reconstruction at the interface between highly dissimilar structures (such as fluorite and perovskite) provides both a large number of carriers and a high-mobility plane, yielding colossal values of the ionic conductivity.

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