Original Paper

Monatshefte für Chemie - Chemical Monthly

, Volume 140, Issue 9, pp 1069-1080

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Influence of interface structure on mass transport in phase boundaries between different ionic materials

Experimental studies and formal considerations
  • Carsten KorteAffiliated withPhysikalisch-Chemisches Institut, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen Email author 
  • , N. SchichtelAffiliated withPhysikalisch-Chemisches Institut, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
  • , D. HesseAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut für Mikrostrukturphysik
  • , J. JanekAffiliated withPhysikalisch-Chemisches Institut, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen



Internal and external interfaces in solids exhibit completely different transport properties compared to the bulk. Transport parallel to grain or phase boundaries is usually strongly enhanced. Transport perpendicular to an interface is usually blocked, i.e., transport across an interface is often much slower. Due to the high density of interfaces in modern micro- and nanoscaled devices, a severe influence on the total transport properties can be expected. In contrast to diffusion in metal grain boundaries, transport phenomena in boundaries of ionic materials are still less understood. The specific transport properties along metal grain boundaries are explained by structural factors like packing densities or dislocation densities in the interface region. In most studies dealing with ionic materials, the interfacial transport properties are merely explained by the influence of space charge regions. In this study the influence of the interface structure on the interfacial transport properties of ionic materials is discussed in analogy to metallic materials. A qualitative model based on the density of misfit dislocations and on interfacial strain is introduced for (untilted and untwisted) phase boundaries. For experimental verification, the interfacial ionic conductivity of different multilayer systems consisting of stabilised ZrO2 and an insulating oxide is investigated as a funtion of structural mismatch. As predicted by the model, the interfacial conductivity increases when the lattice mismatch is increased.

Graphical abstract



Interface structure Ionic conductivity Nanoionics Multilayers Pulsed laser deposition