Nagoya Institute of Technology Scientists Unlock the Potential of Anti-Perovskites Through a Convenient One-Step Synthesis Route

NAGOYA, Japan, July 8, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Although perovskites have attracted a lot of attention lately, anti-perovskites hold just as much potential as functional materials. Bearing a similar crystal structure to perovskites but with an inverted electrical configuration, anti-perovskites exhibit peculiar properties that could be exploited, including negative thermal expansion, ionic conductivity, and even superconductivity. Unfortunately, thus far, synthesizing nanosized anti-perovskites has proven difficult.  

In a recent study published online in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A on December 28, 2023, a research team led by Professor Yuji Iwamoto from Nagoya Institute of Technology, Japan, tackled the current challenges plaguing the synthesis of nitride-based anti-perovskites. They demonstrated a convenient synthesis technique to produce a nanocomposite material consisting of amorphous silicon nitride (a-SiN) ceramic with embedded nanometer-sized Ni3InN anti-perovskite crystals. Their work was co-authored by Dr. Shotaro Tada and Professor Ravi Kumar from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras), India, and Dr. Samuel Bernard from the University of Limoges, France.

The proposed synthesis method can be classified as a ‘Polymer-Derived Ceramics’ (PDCs) route. First, polysilazane—used as a silicon nitride precursor—is chemically modified to include NiCl2 and InCl3 molecules. Then, through pyrolysis in an ammonia (NH3) atmosphere at a relatively low temperature of 300 °C, the modified precursor is transformed into the a-SiN matrix with embedded anti-perovskites in a single step. “While our research team has previously developed a synthesis route for transition metal/a-SiN nanocomposites using polysilazanes modified with transition metal chlorides, this recent study presents a novel approach adopting multiple metal species, resulting in the in situ growth of Ni3InN intermetallic nanoparticles within an amorphous matrix,” highlights Prof. Iwamoto.

This bottom-up synthesis strategy has several strengths. First, the resulting nanocomposite material is highly microporous and contains abundant interfaces between Ni3InN and the a-SiN matrix. Thus, it enables the modification of the electronic structure of the surfaces of the anti-perovskite nanoparticles formed in situ. Additionally, as a single-step low-temperature method, it provides a straightforward route to obtain complex, highly functional materials.

The researchers also showcased, as a proof of concept, the ability of the a-SiN/Ni3InN composite to adsorb and desorb CO2, which could be key to activating and transforming small molecules into value-added compounds for clean energy applications. “This type of nanocomposite, with its diverse multi-metal composition, exhibits promising potential for heterogeneous catalyst design. By providing structural diversity and modifiability, it could facilitate the discovery of new catalytic functionalities,” concludes Dr. Bernard.

Title of original paper: An in situ growth route towards anti-perovskite Ni3InN nanoparticles embedded within amorphous silicon nitride
Journal: Journal of Materials Chemistry A

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SOURCE Nagoya Institute of Technology