Oxygen vacancy migration in ceria and Pr-doped ceria: A DFT+U study

Pratik P. Dholabhai, James Adams, Peter Crozier, Renu Sharma

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127 Scopus citations


Oxygen vacancy formation and migration in ceria (CeO2) is central to its performance as an ionic conductor. It has been observed that ceria doped with suitable aliovalent cationic dopants improves its ionic conductivity. To investigate this phenomenon, we present total energy calculations within the framework of density functional theory to study oxygen vacancy migration in ceria and Pr-doped ceria (PDC). We report activation energies for oxygen vacancy formation and migration in undoped ceria and for different migration pathways in PDC. The activation energy value for oxygen vacancy migration in undoped ceria was found to be in reasonable agreement with the available experimental and theoretical results. Conductivity values for reduced undoped ceria calculated using theoretical activation energy and attempt frequency were found in reasonably good agreement with the experimental data. For PDC, oxygen vacancy formation and migration were investigated at first, second, and third nearest neighbor positions to a Pr ion. The second nearest neighbor site is found to be the most favorable vacancy formation site. Vacancy migration between first, second, and third nearest neighbors was calculated (nine possible jumps), with activation energies ranging from 0.41 to 0.78 eV for first-nearest-neighbor jumps. Overall, the presence of Pr significantly affects vacancy formation and migration, in a complex manner requiring the investigation of many different migration events. We propose a relationship illuminating the role of additional dopants toward lowering the activation energy for vacancy migration in PDC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number094104
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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