Relationships between dopants, microstructure and the microwave dielectric properties of ZrO2-TiO2-SnO2 ceramics
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Ceramics with compositions in the solid solution region of the ZrO2-TiO2-SnO2 equilibrium diagram are finding wide application as dielectrics in filters for communications and radar systems operating at microwave frequencies. Commercially available compositions often incorporate sintering aids and dopants to reduce processing temperatures and modify the dielectric properties. However, the mechanism through which these additives influence dielectric loss is not obvious. The role of zinc oxide as a sintering aid and lanthanum and niobium as dopants, their effect upon microstructural development and their correlation with dielectric loss at microwave frequencies were investigated. For specimens of density greater than 90% theoretical, the influences of defect chemistry upon dielectric loss appear to dominate those of the microstructure. Properties close to those which might be considered intrinsic were attained through sintering for periods of up to 128h. Doping with lanthanum is detrimental to the dielectric loss, particularly after long sintering times.
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