This article reviews our approach to render 12CaO·7Al 2O3 (C12A7) electronically active using a new concept of 'active anion manipulation', where nanostructures embedded within the C12A7 crystal lattice are intentionally utilized to generate chemically unstable ('water-free active') anions. Anionic active oxygen radicals, O- and O 2 - , are formed efficiently in C12A7 cages under high oxygen activity conditions. The configuration and dynamics of O 2 - in cages are revealed by a combination of continuous-wave and pulsed electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR). It is demonstrated that metal-loaded C12A7 is a promising oxidation catalyst for syngas (CO + H 2) formation from methane. Furthermore, the O- ion, the strongest oxidant among active oxygen species, can be extracted from the cage into an external vacuum by applying an electric field with thermal assistance, generating a high-density O- beam in the order of μA cm -2. In contrast, heat treatment of C12A7 in a hydrogen atmosphere forms H- ions in the cages. The resultant C12A7:H- exhibits a persistent insulator-conductor conversion upon ultraviolet-light or electron-beam irradiation. The irradiation-induced conversion mechanism is examined by first-principle theoretical calculations. Furthermore, the presence of a severely reducing environment causes the complete substitution of electrons for anions in the cages. The resulting C12A7:e-, which exhibits excellent stability and an electrical conductivity greater than 100 S cm -1, is regarded as an 'electride', an ionic compound in which electrons serve as anions. The C12A7 electride exhibits a high potential for applications involving cold cathode and thermal field electron emissions due to its small work function. Electride fabrication methods suitable for large-scale production via melt processing are described. It is also demonstrated that proton or inert gas ion implantations into C12A7 thin films at elevated temperatures are effective for both H- and electron doping.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Materials Science
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering