The electrical properties of SrTiO3 (strontium titanate) ceramics are strongly influenced or even dictated by grain boundary segregation of charged point defects, such as dopant atoms, impurities, vacancies, or self-interstitials. The atomistic structure of the grain boundaries, their energy, and the segregation of point defects mutually depend on each other. Grain boundary segregation of charged point defects induces the formation of space charge layers in the adjoining crystals. In order to investigate the relation between grain boundary structure and composition, grain boundaries in Fedoped SrTiO3 bicrystals and in SrTiO3 ceramics were studied by HRTEM and by AEM with subnanometer resolution.
Quantitative HRTEM served to investigate the atomistic structure of Σ=3, (111) grain boundaries in Fe-doped SrTiO3 bicrystals with a doping level of Fe/Ti= 0.04at% (Fig. 1). Analysis of the translation state revealed that the Σ=3, (111) grain boundary has an excess volume: normal to the boundary plane, the spacing between the two crystals exceeds what one would expect from a coincidence site lattice model by (0.06 ±0.01 )nm.