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Regulating Oxygen Ion Transport at the Nanoscale to Enable Highly Cyclable Magneto-Ionic Control of Magnetism
12 May 2023
Magneto-ionics refers to the control of magnetic properties of materials through voltage-driven ion motion. To generate effective electric fields, either solid or liquid electrolytes are utilized, which also serve as ion reservoirs. Thin solid electrolytes have difficulties in (i) withstanding high electric fields without electric pinholes and (ii) maintaining stable ion transport during long-term actuation. In turn, the use of liquid electrolytes can result in poor cyclability, thus limiting their applicability.
Here we propose a nanoscale-engineered magneto-ionic architecture (comprising a thin solid electrolyte in contact with a liquid electrolyte) that drastically enhances cyclability while preserving sufficiently high electric fields to trigger ion motion. Specifically, we show that the insertion of a highly nanostructured (amorphous-like) Ta layer (with suitable thickness and electric resistivity) between a magneto-ionic target material (i.e., Co3O4) and the liquid electrolyte increases magneto-ionic cyclability from <30 cycles (when no Ta is inserted) to more than 800 cycles. Transmission electron microscopy together with variable energy positron annihilation spectroscopy reveals the crucial role of the generated TaOx interlayer as a solid electrolyte (i.e., ionic conductor) that improves magneto-ionic endurance by proper tuning of the types of voltage-driven structural defects. The Ta layer is very effective in trapping oxygen and hindering O2– ions from moving into the liquid electrolyte, thus keeping O2– motion mainly restricted between Co3O4 and Ta when voltage of alternating polarity is applied. We demonstrate that this approach provides a suitable strategy to boost magneto-ionics by combining the benefits of solid and liquid electrolytes in a synergetic manner.
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Sustainable energy conversion & storage systems

Regulating Oxygen Ion Transport at the Nanoscale to Enable Highly Cyclable Magneto-Ionic Control of Magnetism

Zhengwei Tan, Zheng Ma, Laura Fuentes, Maciej Oskar Liedke, Maik Butterling, Ahmed G. Attallah, Eric Hirschmann, Andreas Wagner, Llibertat Abad, Nieves Casañ-Pastor, Aitor F. Lopeandia, Enric Menéndez*, and Jordi Sort*

ACS Nano 2023, 17, 7, 6973–6984
Publication Date:March 27, 2023