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In this study, we present theoretical X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectra at the K-edge of oxygen in zirconia containing Ni dopant atoms and O vacancies at varying concentrations. Specifically, our model system consist of a supercell composed of a zirconia (ZrO 2) matrix containing two nickel dopants (2Ni), which substitute two Zr atoms at a finite separation. We found the 2Ni atoms to be most stable in a ferromagnetic configuration in the absence of oxygen vacancies. In this system, each Ni atom is surrounded by two shells of O with tetrahedral geometry, in a similar way as in bulk cubic zirconia. The oxygen K-edge XANES spectrum of this configuration shows a pre-edge peak, which is attributable to dipole transitions from O 1s to O 2p states that are hybridized with unoccupied Ni 3d states. The intensity of this pre-edge peak, however, reduces upon the introduction of a single vacancy in the 2Ni-doped zirconia matrix. The corresponding ground state remains ferromagnetic, while one of the nickel atoms adopts a trigonal bipyramidal geometry, and the other one remains in a tetrahedral geometry. Furthermore, the introduction of two vacancies in the 2Ni-doped zirconia results in the two Ni atoms having distorted octahedral and trigonal bipyramidal geometries and being coupled antiferromagnetically in the ground state. Additionally, the oxygen K-edge XANES spectrum shows a further decrease in the intensity of the pre-edge peak, compared to the case of a single vacancy. Thus, the changes in the intensity of the pre-edge peak evidence a major structural change in the local environment around nickel atoms and, by extension, in …
Publication date: 
15 Sep 2022

Dick Hartmann Douma, Lodvert Tchibota Poaty, Alessio Lamperti, Stéphane Kenmoe, Abdulrafiu Tunde Raji, Alberto Debernardi, Bernard M’Passi-Mabiala

Biblio References: 
Volume: 13 Issue: 1 Pages: 975-985
Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology