Atomic-Resolution Imaging of Oxygen in Perovskite Ceramics

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Science  07 Feb 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5608, pp. 870-873
DOI: 10.1126/science.1079121

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Using an imaging mode based on the adjustment of a negative value of the spherical-aberration coefficient of the objective lens of a transmission electron microscope, we successfully imaged all types of atomic columns in the dielectric SrTiO3 and the superconductor YBa2Cu3O7. In particular, we were able to view the oxygen atoms which, due to their low scattering power, were not previously accessible, and this allowed us to detect local nonstoichiometries or the degree of oxygen-vacancy ordering. This technique offers interesting opportunities for research into oxides, minerals, and ceramics. In particular, this holds for the huge group of perovskite-derived electroceramic materials in which the local oxygen content sensitively controls the electronic properties.

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