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Int J Mol Sci. 2012;13(4):5278-89. doi: 10.3390/ijms13045278. Epub 2012 Apr 24.

Synthesis mechanism of low-voltage praseodymium oxide doped zinc oxide varistor ceramics prepared through modified citrate gel coating.

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Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology Laboratory, Institute of Advanced Technology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia; E-Mail:


High demands on low-voltage electronics have increased the need for zinc oxide (ZnO) varistors with fast response, highly non-linear current-voltage characteristics and energy absorption capabilities at low breakdown voltage. However, trade-off between breakdown voltage and grain size poses a critical bottle-neck in the production of low-voltage varistors. The present study highlights the synthesis mechanism for obtaining praseodymium oxide (Pr(6)O(11)) based ZnO varistor ceramics having breakdown voltages of 2.8 to 13.3 V/mm through employment of direct modified citrate gel coating technique. Precursor powder and its ceramics were examined by means of TG/DTG, FTIR, XRD and FESEM analyses. The electrical properties as a function of Pr(6)O(11) addition were analyzed on the basis of I-V characteristic measurement. The breakdown voltage could be adjusted from 0.01 to 0.06 V per grain boundary by controlling the amount of Pr(6)O(11) from 0.2 to 0.8 mol%, without alteration of the grain size. The non-linearity coefficient, α, varied from 3.0 to 3.5 and the barrier height ranged from 0.56 to 0.64 eV. Breakdown voltage and α lowering with increasing Pr(6)O(11) content were associated to reduction in the barrier height caused by variation in O vacancies at grain boundary.


citrate gel; praseodymium oxide; varistors; zinc oxide

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