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Research Highlights

September 2017

PNNL Materials Scientists Publish Review Article on STEM Analysis of Oxide Interfaces

Colorized atomic-scale map of an oxide interface for light harvesting. This map was measured using energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (STEM-EDS). Enlarge Image.

Materials scientists Dr. Steven R. Spurgeon and Dr. Scott A. Chambers, both of PNNL, recently published a review article on the characterization of oxide interfaces using advanced scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). The article appears in the August 2017 release of Elsevier’s Encyclopedia of Interfacial Chemistry: Surface Science and Electrochemistry (DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-409547-2.12877-X).

In the article, Spurgeon and Chambers explain that oxide interfaces exhibit a rich variety of useful electronic and magnetic properties, but even small imperfections in their structure and chemistry at the level of a single layer of atoms can negatively affect properties. They review the use of cutting-edge STEM spectroscopy techniques to accurately measure the composition, valence, and intermixing of oxide interfaces used in photovoltaics and magnetic sensors.

“STEM techniques grant us detailed access to atomic-scale information about important functional materials that is difficult to attain using other approaches,” explains Spurgeon. “In our article, we show how this information helps us understand oxide formation and how to control their structure to improve the performance of next-generation devices.”

Dr. Steven R. Spurgeon is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in PNNL’s Materials Sciences group. He is interested in measuring and controlling the structure, properties, and behavior of complex nanostructured systems. Dr. Scott A. Chambers is a Laboratory Fellow and the Technical Group Leader for the PNNL Oxide Epitaxy Group. He has focused on the controlled film growth and properties of model materials and heterostructures throughout his career.

To learn more about how this PNNL team is using STEM techniques to explore the behavior of oxides, click here.

Sponsor Acknowledgment: This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering.

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