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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Thermodynamics of oxygen ordering in YBa₂Cu₃O₆₊ Schleger, Paul R.


An apparatus has been built to study and manipulate the oxygen in high temperature superconductors. It uses the principle of cryogenically assisted volumetric titration to precisely set changes in the oxygen content of high-T, samples. The apparatus has been used to study the thermodynamics of oxygen in YBa2Cu306+x in order to help determine the correct model for oxygen thermodynamics as well as to provide standard curves for materials preparation by other methods. In particular, extensive measurements have been made on the oxygen pressure isotherms as a function of x for temperatures between 450°C and 650°C. The measurement technique also allows one to extract the thermodynamic response function, (ax/O,a)T, Ca is the chemical potential), which is sensitive to the oxygen configuration and which can be calculated by any candidate theory of the oxygen thermodynamics. Several existing theoretical models for the oxygen ordering thermodynamics are presented and compared to the experimental results. The models considered are classed into two basic approaches: lattice gas models and defect chemical models. It is found that the lattice gas models which assume static effective pair interactions between oxygen atoms, do not fit the experimental data very well, especially in the orthorhombic phase. The defect chemical models, which incorporate additional degrees of freedom (spin and charge) due to the creation of electronic defects, fit significantly better, but make crude assumptions for the configurational entropy of oxygen atoms. Using a commonly accepted picture for the creation of mobile electron holes and unpaired spins on the copper sites, it is possible to relate these quantities in terms of short range cluster probabilities defined in mean field approximations to the 2D lattice gas models. Based upon this connection, a thermo dynamical model is developed, which takes into account interactions between oxygen atoms and the additional spin and charge degrees of freedom, assuming a narrow band, high temperature limit for the motion of the charge carriers. The model, containing the nearest-neighbour oxygen interaction(0.241eV) and the single site oxygen binding energy (-0.82eV - D/2; D is the dissociation energy of an oxygen molecule) as the only adjustable parameters, is compared to experimental results for the chemical potential, kT(Ox/a,a)T, fractional site occupancies, structural phase diagram, the number of monovalent coppers, and the total number of mobile electron holes. Qualitative agreement is found for all compared quantities, and quantitative agreement is found for the chemical potential, fractional site occupancies and kT(ax/a,u)T in the orthorhombic phase. Improvements to the model are outlined which should result in a quantitative fit to all results, in particular the valence and hole count vs. x. In addition to illuminating what is lacking in the commonly used two dimensional lattice gas models, the theory may form the basis for accurately predicting the electron hole count of the Cu02 plane of YBa2Cu306+s as a function of the sample preparation conditions.

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