Recently, high oxide ion conduction has been observed in the apatite-type systems La9.33+x(Si/Ge)6O26+x/2, with conductivities approaching and even exceeding that of yttria-stabilized zirconia. The Ge-based phases have been reported to suffer from Ge loss and undergo irreversible structural changes on sintering at the high temperatures required to obtain dense pellets. In this paper we discuss doping studies (Ba, Bi for La) aimed at stabilizing the hexagonal apatite lattice to high temperature, and/or lowering the synthesis and sintering temperatures. The results show that doping with Ba helps to stabilize the hexagonal lattice at high temperatures, although Ge loss appears to still be a problem. Conductivity data show that, as previously reported for the Si-based systems, non-stoichiometry in the form of cation vacancies and/or oxygen excess is required to achieve high oxide ion conduction in these Ge-based systems. Neutron diffraction structural data for the fully stoichiometric phase La8Ba2Ge6O26 shows that the channel oxygen atoms show little anisotropy in their thermal displacement parameters, consistent with the low oxide ion conductivity of this phase. Bi doping is shown to lower the synthesis and sintering temperatures, although the presence of Bi means that these samples are not stable at high temperatures under reducing conditions.
Apatite Germanium Oxide ion conduction Solid oxide fuel cells