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Atmosphere-Induced Reversible Resistivity Changes in Ca/Y-Doped Bismuth Iron Garnet Thin Films

Resistive changes in Y-substituted bismuth iron garnet (BIG)

Bismuth iron garnet Bi3Fe5O12 (BIG) is a multifunctional insulating oxide exhibiting remarkably the largest known Faraday rotation and linear magnetoelectric coupling. Enhancing the electrical conductivity in BIG while preserving its magnetic properties would further widen its range of potential applications in oxitronic devices. Here, a site-selective co-doping strategy in which Ca2+ and Y3+ substitute for Bi3+ is applied. The resulting p- and n-type doped BIG films combine state-of-the-art magneto-optical properties and semiconducting behaviors above room temperature with rather low resistivity: 40 Ohm cm at 450 K is achieved in an n-type Y-doped BIG; this is ten orders of magnitude lower than that of Y3Fe5O12. High-resolution electron spectromicroscopy unveils the complete dopant solubility and the charge compensation mechanisms at the local scale in p- and n-type systems. Oxygen vacancies as intrinsic donors play a key role in the conduction mechanisms of these doped BIG films. On the other hand, a self-compensation of Ca2+ with oxygen vacancies tends to limit the conduction in p-type Ca/Y-doped BIG. Read more »

Plasmonic quantum size effects in silver nanoparticles are dominated by interfaces and local environments


The physical properties of metals change when their dimensions are reduced to the nano-scale and new phenomena such as the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) appear. This collective electronic excitation can be tuned over a large spectral range by adapting the material, size and shape. The existing literature is as rich as it is controversial—for example, size-dependent spectral shifts of the LSPR in small metal nanoparticles, induced by quantum effects, are reported to the red, to the blue or entirely absent. Here we report how complementary experiments on size-selected small silver nanoparticles embedded in silica can yield inconsistent results on the same system: whereas optical absorption shows no size effect in the range between only a few atoms and ~10 nm, a clear spectral shift is observed in single-particle electron spectroscopy. Our quantitative interpretation, based on a mixed classical/quantum model, resolves the apparent contradictions, not only within our experimental data but also in the literature. Our comprehensive model describes how the local environment is the crucial parameter controlling the manifestation or absence of quantum size effects. Read more »


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