Significant oxide ion conductivity has previously been reported for the Ba 3M′M″O 8.5 family (M′ = Nb 5+, V 5+; M″ = Mo 6+, W 6+) of cation-deficient hexagonal perovskite derivatives. These systems exhibit considerable structural disorder and competitive occupation of two distinct oxygen positions (O3 site and O2 site), enabling two-dimensional (2D) ionic conductivity within the ab plane of the structure; higher occupation of the tetrahedral O3 site vs the octahedral O2 site is known to be a major factor that promotes oxide ion conductivity. Previous chemical doping studies have shown that substitution of small amounts of the M′ or M″ ions can result in significant changes to both the structure and ionic conductivity. Here, we report on the electrical and structural properties of the Ba 3Nb 1-xTa xMoO 8.5 series (x = 0.00, 0.025, 0.050, 0.100). AC impedance measurements show that substitution of Nb 5+ with Ta 5+ leads to a significant increase in low-temperature (<500 °C) conductivity for x = 0.1. Analysis of neutron and X-ray diffraction (XRD) data confirms that there is a decrease in the M1O 4/M1O 6 ratio upon increasing x from 0 to 0.1 in Ba 3Nb 1-xTa xMoO 8.5, which would usually coincide with a lowering in the conductivity. However, neutron diffraction results show that Ta doping causes an increase in the oxide ion conductivity as a result of longer M1-O3 bonds and increased polyhedral distortion.
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Experiments at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source were supported by a beamtime allocation XB2190003 from the Science and Technology Facilities Council. Data are available at https://doi.org/10.5286/ISIS.E.RB2190003-1. The authors also thank the University of Aberdeen for provision of a studentship for Brent Sherwood.