The electric field-assisted processing method known as flash sintering was introduced in 2010, by Prof. R. Raj's group. This technique has been used to produce diverse ceramic materials at relatively low temperatures in a matter of seconds (flash effect), thus being cost-effective and energy-efficient. More recently, in 2016, we have demonstrated that it is also possible to perform ultra-rapid synthesis of ceramic oxides by using electric-fields; we called it flash synthesis. These phenomena are a topic at the cutting-edge regarding ceramic materials processing, and are not yet fully understood. The current and main question being: what is the physical origin at the microstructural level of the flash effect? In order to answer this question, we propose an advanced approach to this field, considering the experience of both the postdoctoral candidate, and the Prof. R. Raj (inventor of the flash sintering technique). The research will be conducted on varied materials, selected on the basis of their potential applications in the electro-electronic industry, i.e., varistors (ZnO), dielectric for capacitors (ACu3Ti4O12 (A = Ca, Bi2/3)), and solid electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries (Li3xLa2/3xTiO3). Furthermore, the study will combine techniques that include impedance spectroscopy; current-voltage (I-V) characteristics from the materials; chemical microanalysis through energy dispersive analysis of X-ray; phase development via X-ray diffraction, etc. Finally, the aim of this project is to seek a better understanding of the phenomena behind flash effects.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: