Site Identity and Importance in Cosubstituted Bixbyite In2O3

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Rickert K., Harris J., Sedefoglu N., KAVAK H., Ellis D. E., Poeppelmeier K. R.

CRYSTALS, vol.7, no.2, 2017 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 7 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/cryst7020047
  • Journal Name: CRYSTALS
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Çukurova University Affiliated: Yes


The bixbyite structure of In2O3 has two nonequivalent, 6-coordinate cation sites and, when Sn is doped into In2O3, the Sn prefers the b-site and produces a highly conductive material. When divalent/tetravalent cation pairs are cosubstituted into In2O3, however, the conductivity increases to a lesser extent and the site occupancy is less understood. We examine the site occupancy in the MgxIn2-2xSnxO3 and ZnxIn2-2xSnxO3 systems with high resolution X-ray and neutron diffraction and density functional theory computations, respectively. In these sample cases and those that are previously reported in the MxIn2-2xSnxO3 (M = Cu, Ni, or Zn) systems, the solubility limit is greater than 25%, ensuring that the b-site cannot be the exclusively preferred site as it is in Sn:In2O3. Prior to this saturation point, we report that the M2+ cation always has at least a partial occupancy on the d-site and the Sn4+ cation has at least a partial occupancy on the b-site. The energies of formation for these configurations are highly favored, and prefer that the divalent and tetravalent substitutes are adjacent in the crystal lattice, which suggests short range ordering. Diffuse reflectance and 4-point probe measurements of MgxIn2-xSnxO3 demonstrate that it can maintain an optical band gap >2.8 eV while surpassing 1000 S/cm in conductivity. Understanding how multiple constituents occupy the two nonequivalent cation sites can provide information on how to optimize cosubstituted systems to increase Sn solubility while maintaining its dopant nature, achieving maximum conductivity.