Probing the boundaries of ceramics

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Science  16 Sep 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6305, pp. 1246-1247
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6305.1246-e

Ceramics are important but underappreciated materials for numerous technologies. Diercks et al. investigate the connection between electrical properties and local chemistry in neodymium-doped ceria. They show that macroscopic changes in properties such as electrical conductivity are tied to the chemical composition of the grain boundaries, which make up a tiny fraction of the overall volume. High-precision maps provide a method for understanding the relationship between microscopic and macroscopic properties, which can be exploited for optimizing materials design.

J. Mater. Chem. A 10.1039/c5ta10064j (2016).

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