A complex oxide is a chemical compound that contains oxygen and at least two other elements (or oxygen and just one other element that's in at least two oxidation states). Complex oxide materials are notable for their wide range of magnetic and electronic properties, such as ferromagnetism, ferroelectricity, and high-temperature superconductivity. These properties often come from their strongly correlated electrons in d or f orbitals.
Complex oxide materials are used in a variety of commercial applications.
Magnets made of the complex oxide ferrite are commonly used in transformer cores and in inductors. Ferrites are ideal for these applications because they are magnetic, electrically insulating, and inexpensive.
Transducers and actuators
Piezoelectric transducers and actuators are often made of the complex oxide PZT (lead zirconate titanate). These transducers are used in applications such ultrasound imaging and some microphones. PZT is also sometimes used for piezo ignition in lighters and gas grills.
Many precious gemstones, such as emerald and topaz, are complex oxide crystals. Historically, some complex oxide materials (such as strontium titanate, yttrium aluminium garnet, and gadolinium gallium garnet) were also synthesized as inexpensive diamond simulants, though after 1976 they were mostly eclipsed by cubic zirconia.
New electronic devices
As of 2015, there is research underway to commercialize complex oxides in new kinds of electronic devices, such as ReRAM, FeRAM, and memristors. Complex oxide materials are also being researched for their use in spintronics.
Commonly studied complex oxides
- Lead zirconate titanate (a piezoelectric material)
- Lanthanum aluminate (a high-dielectric insulator)
- Strontium titanate (a high-dielectric semiconductor)
- Lanthanum strontium manganite (a material exhibiting colossal magnetoresistance)
- Barium titanate (a multiferroic material)
- Bismuth ferrite (a multiferroic material)
- Yttrium barium copper oxide (a high-temperature superconductor)
- Bismuth strontium calcium copper oxide (a high-temperature superconductor)
- Mott insulator
- Colossal magnetoresistance
- Half metal
- Lanthanum aluminate-strontium titanate interface
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