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The Thin Films and Interfaces Group

Thin films are nowadays utilized in many applications, ranging from semiconductor devices to optical coatings and are even present in pharmaceuticals (polymers). This wide-spread application of films with thicknesses from atomic monolayers to microns is due to the developments of thin film deposition techniques. Thin films are also important for studies of materials with new and unique properties due to the possibility of tuning their crystallographic and morphological properties. The thin film approach, i.e. the presence of interfaces (to a substrate or the film surface) adds more degrees of freedom for influencing the properties of materials, e.g. by lattice strain or surface functionalization. For these fundamental studies of material properties large research facilities such as synchrotron radiation or neutron spallation sources are one of the keys that the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) provides. Read more Top

PhD projects at the Thin Films and Interfaces Group

At present, we do not have open PhD positions available. As soon as we have details will be posted at our open position page. Other open positions are always published on the PSI Open Positions page.

News

Upcoming Group Seminars

Controlling ferroic domain architecture in oxide heterostructures - Abstract
Speaker: Gabriele De Luca
Date: Monday 26 February 2018 16:00
Room: OFLG/402

TBA
Speaker: LMX Meeting: Katja Pomjakushina
Date: Tuesday 13 March 2018 13:00
Room: OSGA/EG06

Emergent phenomena in artificial spin systems and oxide thin films
Speaker: A. Farhan
Date: Monday 19 March 2018 16:00
Room: OFLG/402


Special interview with Prof. Thomas Lippert (PSI and Principle Investigator at I2CNER, Kyushu University) and Prof. Tatsumi Ishihara (Associate Director I2CNER, Kyushu University) on Current and Future Energy Research and Development in Europe: Perspectives from Switzerland, Germany and Japan. The interview is being published in the August 2017 issue of the Energy Outlook of the International Institut for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research, I2CNER.
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Most recent Paper

Aline Fluri, Aris Marcolongo, Vladimir Roddatis, Alexander Wokaun, Daniele Pergolesi, Nicola Marzari, and Thomas Lippert
Enhanced Proton Conductivity in Y-Doped BaZrO3 via Strain Engineering
Adv. Sci. 4, 1700467 (2017)


22 December 2017

Enhanced Proton Conductivity in Y-Doped BaZrO3 via Strain Engineering

Abstract:
The effects of stress-induced lattice distortions (strain) on the conductivity of Y-doped BaZrO3, a high-temperature proton conductor with key technological applications for sustainable electrochemical energy conversion, are studied. Highly ordered epitaxial thin films are grown in different strain states while monitoring the stress generation and evolution in situ. Enhanced proton conductivity due to lower activation energies is discovered under controlled conditions of tensile strain. In particular, a twofold increased conductivity is measured at 200 °C along a 0.7% tensile strained lattice. This is at variance with conclusions coming from force-field simulations or the static calculations of diffusion barriers. Here, extensive first-principles molecular dynamic simulations of proton diffusivity in the proton-trapping regime are therefore performed and found to agree with the experiments. The simulations highlight that compressive strain confines protons in planes parallel to the substrate, while tensile strain boosts diffusivity in the perpendicular direction, with the net result that the overall conductivity is enhanced. It is indeed the presence of the dopant and the proton-trapping effect that makes tensile strain favorable for proton conduction.
Keywords: pulsed laser deposition; proton conduction; thin films; strain; simulations;

Facility: Thin Films and Interfaces, LMX, ETHZ, EPFL, University of Göttingen

Reference: A. Fluri et al., Adv. Sci. 4, 1700467 (2017)

Read full article: [here]