Transformers: the changing phases of low-dimensional vanadium oxide bronzes
In this feature article, we explore the electronic and structural phase transformations of ternary vanadium oxides with the composition MxV2O5 where M is an intercalated cation. The periodic arrays of intercalated cations ordered along quasi-1D tunnels or layered between 2D sheets of the V2O5 framework induce partial reduction of the framework vanadium atoms giving rise to charge ordering patterns that are specific to the metal M and stoichiometry x. This periodic charge ordering makes these materials remarkably versatile platforms for studying electron correlation and underpins the manifestation of phenomena such as colossal metal–insulator transitions, quantized charge corrals, and superconductivity. We describe current mechanistic understanding of these emergent phenomena with a particular emphasis on the benefits derived from scaling these materials to nanostructured dimensions wherein precise ordering of cations can be obtained and phase relationships can be derived that are entirely inaccessible in the bulk. In particular, structural transformations induced by intercalation are dramatically accelerated due to the shorter diffusion path lengths at nanometer-sized dimensions, which cause a dramatic reduction of kinetic barriers to phase transformations and facilitate interconversion between the different frameworks. We conclude by summarizing numerous technological applications that have become feasible due to recent advances in controlling the structural chemistry and both electronic and structural phase transitions in these versatile frameworks.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2015 Emerging Investigators