Scanning Microscopy


Cathodoluminescence (CL) spectroscopy and microscopy were applied to investigate the characteristic grain-boundary contrast in semiconducting ferroelectric BaTiO3 ceramics. It was shown, that "chemically clean" grain boundaries do not reveal any specific CL components neither in the visible nor in the infrared part of the spectrum. Instead, the contrast arises from at least two different non-radiative recombination centers present in the grain and the grain-boundary zones, respectively. Activation thresholds for these centers were determined from the temperature dependence of the integral CL signal down to 30K. The different values found explain the contrast reversal observed in BaTiO3 ceramics upon cooling. Starting from a consideration of the defect equilibria present in the samples after selected treatment cycles, we could attribute the non-radiative recombination centers to oxygen vacancies.

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