Particle atomic layer deposition of alumina for sintering yttria-stabilized cubic zirconia

Rebecca J. O'Toole, Christopher J. Bartel, Maila U. Kodas, Alexa J. Horrell, Sandrine Ricote, Neal P. Sullivan, Christopher J. Gump, Charles B. Musgrave, Alan W. Weimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The addition of aluminum oxide (Al 2 O 3 ) as a sintering aid to yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) reduces the required densification temperature. Sintering aids are incorporated using a number of processes which can lead to ambiguity when determining the effect of the sintering aid on the densification mechanism. In this study, a novel method for sintering aid addition, Particle Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD), was used to deposit an amorphous Al 2 O 3 thin film on YSZ particles. Transmission electron microscopy confirmed the deposition of conformal Al 2 O 3 thin films on the surface of the YSZ particles. The addition of Al 2 O 3 to YSZ reduced the temperature at which densification began by ~75°C, and 2.2 wt% Al 2 O 3 addition resulted in a minimum activation energy for the intermediate stage of densification. This concentration is well in excess of the solubility limit of Al 2 O 3 in YSZ, showing that Al 2 O 3 does not enhance the densification of YSZ solely by dissolving into the YSZ lattice and activating volume diffusion. The addition of 0.7 wt% Al 2 O 3 with one Particle ALD cycle enhanced the ionic conductivity of YSZ by 23% after sintering at 1350°C for 2 hours, demonstrating that dense parts with high oxygen ion conductivities can be produced after sintering at reduced temperatures. One Particle ALD cycle is a fast, easily scaled-up process that eliminates the use of solvents and has substantial cost/performance advantages over conventional processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2283-2293
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Ceramic Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes

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© 2018 The American Ceramic Society


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