Phase stabilization in nitrogen-implanted nanocrystalline cubic zirconia

Gonghua Wang, Guangfu Luo, Yun Liang Soo, Renat F. Sabirianov, Hong Ji Lin, Wai Ning Mei, Fereydoon Namavar, Chin Li Cheung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The phase stability of nanocrystallites with metastable crystal structures under ambient conditions is usually attributed to their small grain size. It remains a challenging problem to maintain such phase integrity of these nanomaterials when their crystallite sizes become larger. Here we report an experimental-modelling approach to study the roles of nitrogen dopants in the formation and stabilization of cubic ZrO 2 nanocrystalline films. Mixed nitrogen and argon ion beam assisted deposition (IBAD) was applied to produce nitrogen-implanted cubic ZrO 2 nanocrystallites with grain sizes of 8-13 nm. Upon thermal annealing, the atomic structure of these ZrO 2 films was observed to evolve from a cubic phase, to a tetragonal phase and then a monoclinic phase. Our X-ray absorption near edge structure study on the annealed samples together with first-principle modelling revealed the significance of the interstitial nitrogen in the phase stabilization of nitrogen implanted cubic ZrO 2 crystallites via the soft mode hardening mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19517-19525
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number43
StatePublished - Nov 21 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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