Interfaces and surfaces are where the action happens, especially in the field of energy where catalytic reactions, adsorption of molecules, fast movement of charges or many other relevant phenomena take place in the limit between two different media or hetereogeneities of the same.
The unique features of interfaces made them rich in unprecedented phenomena ocurring. These new phenomena happening at interfaces are prevailing in the so-called interface-dominated materials such as nanostructures, where the boundaries are maximized compared to the volume. This novel class of materials are the object of study for new emerging disciplines like Nanoionics or Iontronics, in relation to ions, being the main source of breakthrough concepts to impulse new technologies that meet today’s challenges. We recently discovered a completely new strategy for engineering charge transport phenomena at the interface level by controlling the local non-stoichiometry of the compound. A new Queen in the realm of the interfaces. This new tool allows radically changing the nature of the charge transport of a material only by playing with its interfaces. A couple of works published in Advanced Materials (cover image) and APL Materials were released this year presenting this approach applied to manganites, which are extremely relevant materials for a collection of devices in the field of energy and information technologies.
The image shows a coloured Transmission Electron Microscopy picture of a grain boundary interface in a manganite nanostructured thin film. The oxygen is preferentially incorporated in the material through the interface after tuning it (schematically represented in the top part).
F. Chiabrera, I. Garbayo, L. López-Conesa, G. Martín, A. Ruiz-Caridad, M. Walls, L. Ruiz-González, A. Kordatos, M. Núñez, A. Morata, S. Estradé, A. Chroneos, F. Peiró, and A. Tarancón, “Engineering Transport in Manganites by Tuning Local Nonstoichiometry in Grain Boundaries“, Advanced Materials, (2018) 1805360 (Selected for the cover image)
F. Chiabrera, I. Garbayo, D. Pla, M. Burriel, F. Wilhelm, A. Rogalev, M. Núñez, A. Morata, and A. Tarancón, “Unraveling bulk and grain boundary electrical properties in La0.8Sr0.2Mn1-yO3+d thin films“, APL Materials 7 (2019) 013205 (Invited Article)