Oxygen ion transport is the key issue in redox processes. Visualizing the process of oxygen ion migration with atomic resolution is highly desirable for designing novel devices such as oxidation catalysts, oxygen permeation membranes, and solid oxide fuel cells. Here we show the process of electrically induced oxygen migration and subsequent reconstructive structural transformation in a SrCoO2.5-σ film by scanning transmission electron microscopy. We find that the extraction of oxygen from every second SrO layer occurs gradually under an electrical bias; beyond a critical voltage, the brownmillerite units collapse abruptly and evolve into a periodic nano-twined phase with a high c/a ratio and distorted tetrahedra. Our results show that oxygen vacancy rows are not only natural oxygen diffusion channels, but also preferred sites for the induced oxygen vacancies. These direct experimental results of oxygen migration may provide a common mechanism for the electrically induced structural evolution of oxides.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)