A nanometre-scale non-periodic structural variation in high temperature superconducting ceramics and the implications for properties

Barry, J. C. & Alarco, J. A. (2001) A nanometre-scale non-periodic structural variation in high temperature superconducting ceramics and the implications for properties. Journal of Microscopy, 202(3), pp. 495-517.

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Non-periodic structural variation has been found in the high Tc cuprates, YBa2Cu3O7-x and Hg0.67Pb0.33Ba2Ca2Cu 3O8+δ, by image analysis of high resolution transmission electron microscope (HRTEM) images. We use two methods for analysis of the HRTEM images. The first method is a means for measuring the bending of lattice fringes at twin planes. The second method is a low-pass filter technique which enhances information contained by diffuse-scattered electrons and reveals what appears to be an interference effect between domains of differing lattice parameter in the top and bottom of the thin foil. We believe that these methods of image analysis could be usefully applied to the many thousands of HRTEM images that have been collected by other workers in the high temperature superconductor field. This work provides direct structural evidence for phase separation in high Tc cuprates, and gives support to recent stripes models that have been proposed to explain various angle resolved photoelectron spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance data. We believe that the structural variation is a response to an opening of an electronic solubility gap where holes are not uniformly distributed in the material but are confined to metallic stripes. Optimum doping may occur as a consequence of the diffuse boundaries between stripes which arise from spinodal decomposition. Theoretical ideas about the high Tc cuprates which treat the cuprates as homogeneous may need to be modified in order to take account of this type of structural variation.

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3 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 64021
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: High Tc, HRTEM, HTS, Non-periodic, Non-periodic structure variation, Spinodal, Stripes, Twin planes, YBCO, copper derivative, analytic method, article, ceramics, chemical structure, conductor, high temperature, image analysis, image processing, phase separation, priority journal, transmission electron microscopy
DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2818.2001.00848.x
ISSN: 0022-2720
Divisions: Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Deposited On: 07 Nov 2013 01:21
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2013 01:21

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