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Designing fast oxide-ion conductors based on La2Mo2O9

Abstract

The ability of solid oxides to conduct oxide ions has been known for more than a century, and fast oxide-ion conductors (or oxide electrolytes) are now being used for applications ranging from oxide fuel cells to oxygen pumping devices1,2. To be technologically viable, these oxide electrolytes must exhibit high oxide-ion mobility at low operating temperatures. Because of the size and interaction of oxygen ions with the cationic network, high mobility can only be achieved with classes of materials with suitable structural features. So far, high mobility has been observed in only a small number of structural families, such as fluorite3,4,5, perovskites6,7, intergrowth perovskite/Bi2O2 layers8,9 and pyrochlores10,11. Here we report a family of solid oxides based on the parent compound12 La2Mo2O9 (with a different crystal structure from all known oxide electrolytes) which exhibits fast oxide-ion conducting properties. Like other ionic conductors2,13, this material undergoes a structural transition around 580 °C resulting in an increase of conduction by almost two orders of magnitude. Its conductivity is about 6 × 10-2 S cm-1 at 800 °C, which is comparable to that of stabilized zirconia, the most widely used oxide electrolyte. The structural similarity of La2Mo2O9 with β-SnWO4 (ref. 14) suggests a structural model for the origin of the oxide-ion conduction. More generally, substitution of a cation that has a lone pair of electrons by a different cation that does not have a lone pair—and which has a higher oxidation state—could be used as an original way to design other oxide-ion conductors.

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Figure 1: Phase transition at 580 °C in La2Mo2O9 (vertical grey line).
Figure 2: Thermal evolution of complex impedance curves measured on La2Mo2O9 at three temperatures.
Figure 3: Arrhenius plot of the conductivity of La2Mo2O9 compared to that of two typical stabilized zirconias.
Figure 4: Crystallographic arrangement of cations in the crystal structure of La2Mo2O9 and LnPO4.

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Lacorre, P., Goutenoire, F., Bohnke, O. et al. Designing fast oxide-ion conductors based on La2Mo2O9. Nature 404, 856–858 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1038/35009069

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