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Microstructural origin of the dielectric breakdown strength in alumina: A study by positron lifetime spectroscopy

Abstract : The dielectric breakdown strengths of two series of sintered alumina samples of low and high impurity content (with Si being the dominant element) and single crystal of low impurity level are compared with positron lifetime measurements. It is found that, in sintered alumina, the breakdown strength increases linearly with increasing concentration of positron traps at grain boundaries. These traps are likely clusters containing negatively charged cationic vacancies, which are induced by silicon dissolution into Al2O3. Therefore, the improvement of the breakdown strength can be traced to silicon segregation at grain boundaries. More precisely, it is deduced that the dissolution of Si impurity into Al2O3, when it is compensated by a cationic vacancy VmAl, is responsible for such an improvement. A solubility of Si in Al2O3, achieved during the firing schedule of the sintering process, and which does not take into account enhanced solubility caused by mutual compensation of Si with lower valence foreign cations such as Ca and MgO, is estimated at 120 ppm.
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https://hal-emse.ccsd.cnrs.fr/emse-00505752
Contributor : Pierre Charles Pinoli <>
Submitted on : Monday, July 26, 2010 - 9:45:43 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - 4:18:17 PM

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A. Si Ahmed, J. Kansy, K. Zarbout, Gérard Moya, J. Liebault, et al.. Microstructural origin of the dielectric breakdown strength in alumina: A study by positron lifetime spectroscopy. Journal of the European Ceramic Society, Elsevier, 2005, 25 (12), pp.2813-2816. ⟨10.1016/j.jeurceramsoc.2005.03.146⟩. ⟨emse-00505752⟩

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