Unveiling the Outstanding Oxygen Mass Transport Properties of Mn-Rich Perovskites in Grain Boundary-Dominated La0.8Sr0.2(Mn1–xCox)0.85O3±δ Nanostructures

A. M. Saranya, A. Morata, D. Pla, M. Burriel, F. Chiabrera, I. Garbayo, A. Hornés, J. A. Kilner and A. Tarancón
Chem. Mater. 30, 5621−5629, 2018.


Ion transport in solid-state devices is of great interest for current and future energy and information technologies. A superior enhancement of several orders of magnitude of the oxygen diffusivity has been recently reported for grain boundaries in lanthanum–strontium manganites. However, the significance and extent of this unique phenomenon are not yet established. Here, we fabricate a thin film continuous composition map of the La0.8Sr0.2(Mn1–xCox)0.85O3±δ family revealing a substantial enhancement of the grain boundary oxygen mass transport properties for the entire range of compositions. Through isotope-exchange depth profiling coupled with secondary ion mass spectroscopy, we show that this excellent performance is not directly linked to the bulk of the material but to the intrinsic nature of the grain boundary. In particular, the great increase of the oxygen diffusion in Mn-rich compositions unveils an unprecedented catalytic performance in the field of mixed ionic–electronic conductors. These results present grain boundaries engineering as a novel strategy for designing highly performing materials for solid-state ionics-based devices.