Abstract: This paper provides an introduction to perturbed angular correlation (PAC) spectroscopy in the context of its application in the study of point defects and diffusion. It emphasizes what we anticipate to be of interest to non-PAC specialists who are interested in understanding variations in how PAC results are presented by different research groups and in how physical quantities such as defect formation energies, association energies, and migration barriers can be extracted from analysis of PAC spectra. Numerous citations are included to emphasize the universality of the analysis methods across different classes of materials including metallic, ceramic, and semiconducting compounds.
Abstract: Perturbed gamma-gamma angular correlation (PAC) spectroscopy is a precise and highly efficient tool to follow the temperature dependence of local magnetic fields in any material. Its resolution and efficiency does not depend on temperature and therefore can measure local fields at low as well as high temperature with the same accuracy. Due its versatility in using different probe nuclei it can sense the local magnetic fields at different sites in the crystalline structure of materials. In this review, important results obtained with PAC spectroscopy are shown in two classes of materials: transition metal and transition-metal based compounds and rare earth elements and rare-earth-element based compounds using mainly three different probe nuclei: 111Cd, 181Ta and 140Ce. PAC spectroscopy has contributed to the systematic study of the magnetic hyperfine field in impurities in matrices of Fe, Co and Ni as well as in transition-metal based Heusler alloys. It has also provided important contribution to the investigation of magnetism in rare-earth elements and intermetallic compounds. An still open issue concerning the local fields in metallic magnetic compounds and elements is the exchange interaction between the magnetic ions of the host and a dilute magnetic impurity, which acts as a defect in the magnetic lattice. PAC spectroscopy has been contributing to study this problem with success. Also shown in this review is the crucial role of ab-initio first principle calculations in the interpretation of PAC results.
Abstract: In this chapter Perturbed Angular Correlation (PAC) experiments on binary oxides are described. These experiments provide local-scale fingerprints about the formation, identification, and lattice environment of defect complexes at the PAC probe site. The potential of the PAC observations in conjunction with ab initio calculations is shown. Measurements of the electric-field gradient at impurity sites using 111Cd and 181Ta probes are reviewed. Special attention is paid to oxides with the bixbyite structure. The case of In2O3 is particularly analyzed. Results obtained with HfO2, in form of coarse grain or nano particles, are described. The potential results that can be obtained from Density Functional Theory ab initio calculations in doped systems are shown describing the main results observed in many impurity-host systems.
Abstract: The PAC-technique always claims to test the micro-surrounding of the probe atoms. Typically, the samples are macroscopic and more or less homogeneous and there is no debate about the usefulness of the method: substitutional sites, trapped vacancies or phase transitions are easily seen. Even the PAC-“fingerprint” of an amorphous material is known. In case of inhomogeneous samples, perhaps made out of different constituents, the question arises whether the PAC can contribute to the understanding of such materials or not. The article will show the different ways to introduce the probe atoms into the samples and discuss then the influence of these histories on the final site of the probe in the sample. In general, diffusion tends to place the probes into grain boundaries, whereas implantation reaches the bulk. This becomes important for nano-materials with their high fraction of internal surfaces. As a second, important difference for possible experiments the spatial distribution of the probes has to be considered. Implantation leads to a Gaussian shaped depth distribution of the probes. This corresponds – in a certain region – to a 3-dimensional distribution of probes in the sample, used e.g. when doping a semiconductor. In the production of special sensors (which apply e.g. the giant magnetoresistance (GMR) effect) one needs a different package, thin films (1-2 mono-layers). To apply PAC here, the probes have to be introduced during the fabrication of such a sensor. In these cases the probes have to be placed within a plane of nano-scale thickness.
Abstract: TiO2 nanoparticles (anatase) with diameters between 2 and 4 nm were synthesized by controlled hydrolysis of a solution of titanium(IV)isopropoxide to which 44Ti in 4M HCl was added. Inactive nanoparticles were analyzed by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), the active ones were analyzed by measuring the nuclear quadrupole interaction (NQI) of the I = 1 state in 44Sc using time differential perturbed angular correlation (TDPAC). Rather broad distributions were obtained. We also synthesized nanowires with typical diameters of 2 nm and 100 nm length using shape controllers. They were analyzed by HRTEM and XRD. The material turned out to be TiO2(B). The 44Ti was added by impregnation and diffusion at 180°C for two hours. Two well-defined NQI signals were observed which we tentatively assigned to the volume fraction and the “surface” fraction, i.e. Ti probes with OH-termination. In addition, we studied AMT-100 (anatase, uncoated, 6 nm) from Tayca, Eusolex T-2000 (rutile, Al2O3-coated, 20×20×100 nm3, simethicone additive) and P25 (mainly anatase, uncoated, 20 nm diameter) using the impregnation and diffusion method. P25 and the isolated rutile fraction from P25 yield spectra which correspond to anatase and rutile volume signals plus their surface signals, respectively. TDPAC thus proved very useful in characterizing the nanomaterials, especially their disorder, by measuring the NQI. In addition, information on surface properties is obtained. The relatively narrow surface signals indicate a lower degree of disorder and are possibly also a result of partial motional averaging of Ti-signals with OH-bonds due to mobile H-atoms.
Abstract: Measurements were made of jump frequencies of 111In/Cd tracer atoms on the Sn-sublattice in rare-earth tri-stannides having the L12 crystal structure via perturbed angular correlation spectroscopy (PAC). Phases studied were Sn3R (R= La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm and Gd). Earlier measurements on isostructural rare-earth tri-indides showed that the dominant diffusion mechanism changed along that series . The dominant mechanism was determined by comparing jump frequencies measured at opposing phase boundary compositions (that is, more In-rich and more In-poor). Jump frequencies were observed to be greater at the In-rich boundary composition in light lanthanide indides and greater at the In-poor boundary composition in heavy-lanthanide indides. These observations were attributed to predominance of diffusion via rare-earth vacancies in the former case and indium vacancies in the latter. Contrary to results for the indides, jump frequencies found in the present work are greater for the Sn-poor boundary compositions of the stannides, signaling that diffusive jumps are controlled by Sn-vacancies. Possible origins of these differences in diffusion mechanisms are discussed.
Abstract: Wide band gap semiconductors, mainly GaN, have experienced much attention due to their application in photonic devices and high-power or high-temperature electronic devices. Especially the synthesis of InxGa1-xN alloys has been studied extensively because of their use in LEDs and laser diodes. Here, In is added during the growth process and devices are already very successful on a commercial scale. Indium in nitride ternary and quaternary alloys plays a special role; however, the mechanisms leading to more efficient light emission in In-containing nitrides are still under debate. Therefore, the behaviour of In in GaN and AlN, the nitride semiconductor with the largest bandgap is an important field of study. In is also an important impurity in another wide band gap semiconductor – the II-VI compound ZnO where it acts as an n-type dopant. In this context the perturbed angular correlation technique using implantation of the probe 111In is a unique tool to study the immediate lattice environment of In in the wurtzite lattice of these wide band gap semiconductors. For the production of GaN and ZnO based electronic circuits one would normally apply the ion implantation technique, which is the most widely used method for selective area doping of semiconductors like Si and GaAs. However, this technique suffers from the fact that it invariably produces severe lattice damage in the implanted region, which in nitride semiconductors has been found to be very difficult to recover by annealing. The perturbed angular correlation technique is employed to monitor the damage recovery around implanted atoms and the properties of hitherto known impurity – defect complexes will be described and compared to proposed structure models.