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Keywords:

  • Charge transport;
  • Dielectrics;
  • Polycrystalline materials

Abstract

The charge transport mechanism and the macroscopic dielectric constant in polycrystalline device materials commonly exhibit several components such as electrode-sample interface, grain boundary and bulk contributions. In order to gain precise understanding of the functionality of polycrystalline electroceramic device materials it is essential to deconvolute these contributions. The paradigm of functional NTC thermistor ceramics based on thick film spinel manganates has been studied by temperature dependent alternating current impedance spectroscopy. Three typical relaxation phenomena were detected, which all showed a separated temperature dependence of resistivity consistent with thermally activated charge transport. The dominating grain boundary and the interface contributions exhibited distinctively different capacitance allowing clear identification. The composite nature of the dielectric properties in polycrystalline functional ceramics was emphasized, and impedance spectroscopy was shown to be a powerful tool to account for and model such behavior.