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High Conductivity in Hydrothermally Grown AgCuO2 Single Crystals Verified Using Focused-Ion-Beam-Deposited Nanocontacts

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Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Barcelona, ICMAB-CSIC, Campus de la UAB, Bellaterra 08193, Spain
Instituto de Nanociencia de Aragón
§ Departamento de Física de la Materia Condensada, Facultad de Ciencias
Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Aragón, CSIC, Facultad de Ciencias
Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza 50009, Spain
Centro de Investigación en Nanociencia y Nanotecnología, CIN2 (CSIC-ICN), Campus de la UAB, Bellaterra 08193, Spain
# Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, U.K.
*To whom correspondence should be addressed. Present address: Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QZ, U.K. Phone: +441233334374. Fax: +441223334375. E-mail: [email protected]
Cite this: Inorg. Chem. 2010, 49, 23, 10977–10983
Publication Date (Web):November 4, 2010
https://doi.org/10.1021/ic101420c
Copyright © 2010 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract

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    The silver−copper mixed oxide AgCuO2 (also formulated as Ag2Cu2O4) possesses a peculiar electronic structure in which both Ag and Cu are partially oxidized, with the charge being delocalized among the three elements in the oxide. Accordingly, a quasi-metallic behavior should be expected for this oxide, and indeed bulk transport measurements show conductivity values that are orders of magnitude higher than for other members of this novel oxide family. The presence of silver makes thermal sintering an inadequate method to evaluate true conductivity, and thus such measurements were performed on low density pellets, giving an underestimated value for the conductivity. In the present work we present a new synthetic route for AgCuO2 based on mild hydrothermal reactions that has yielded unprecedented large AgCuO2 single-crystals well over 1 μm in size using temperatures as low as 88 °C. We have used a dual beam instrument to apply nanocontacts to those crystals, allowing the in situ measurement of transport properties of AgCuO2 single crystals. The results show a linear relationship between applied current and measured voltage. The conductivity values obtained are 50 to 300 times higher than those obtained for bulk low density AgCuO2 pellets, thus confirming the high conductivity of this oxide and therefore supporting the delocalized charge observed by spectroscopic techniques.

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