Horst Hahn, Design of materials properties by microstructure and external fields

Horst Hahn

Institute of Nanotechnology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

The mechanical, physical and chemical properties of materials are determined by their microstructure. Modern materials science uses the complex interplay of defects, such as impurities, phases, point and line defects and interfaces, to tailor properties and obtain high-performance metallic alloys and ceramics. In this approach of materials design, properties can only be changed by modifying their microstructure, for example by initiating grain growth during annealing at elevated temperatures. Such a behavior, that fixes the properties irreversibly to the microstructure, is advantageous for many applications of materials, where long-term stability of the properties is required.

Two examples for designing materials properties will be presented, nanoglasses and equiatomic multicomponent single phase oxides.

Metallic glasses offer interesting properties due to their disordered atomic structure. Due to the fact that they are prepared predominantly by rapid quenching, only a certain range of microstructural parameters has yet been explored. As an example for materials that exhibit novel effects by tailoring the microstructure, nanoglasses will be discussed. Nanoglasses consist of two distinct structural components, which differ in their free volume and elemental constitution, and have been shown to exhibit drastic property changes.

Equiatomic multicomponent single phase oxides, oxides with simple crystallographic structures consisting of up to 10 different cations, have been prepared by different synthesis routes. Nebulized spray pyrolysis has been shown to be the most flexible and versatile technique. Some examples of different structures for transition and rare earth metal oxides and perowskites will be presented.

In contrast, tuning using external fields, i.e., electric, offers completely new opportunities for the fully reversible control of materials properties. Such tuning of physical properties will be demonstrated for several nanostructures, i.e. (epitaxial) thin films, nanoporous, nanoparticulate structures and nanowires. Tuning can be either achieved using dielectric/ferroelectric gating, well known from semiconductor physics, or by electrolyte gating using liquid or solid electrolytes. Furthermore, using electrochemical ion intercalation, fully reversible properties with substantially larger effect magnitude can be achieved.

Finally, the concepts employed for tuning properties of nanostructures can be employed in applications as well. As an example, field-effect transistors based on inorganic nanoparticles as the channel material and solid electrolyte for the gating will be described.

Plenary lectures - YUCOMAT 2017

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