From simple discovery of CaTiO3 to high-efficiency materials in electronic devices such as sensors, magnetic memory components, electrode and electrolyte materials for fuel cells and solar cells

By Prof. Youssef TAMRAOUI

Many different elements must come together before the human community develops to the level of sophistication commonly referred to as civilization. Without Stone, glass, textiles, metal, and the other materials in our lives, we are left naked, shivering in a muddy field. It’s clearly seen that everything is made of something. The complexity of our lives is in a large part granted by material wealth, we would quickly revert to animal behavior without the stuff of our civilization: what make us human are our clothes, our homes, our cities, our things, which we animate through our customs and language. This becomes very apparent if you ever visit a disaster zone. Thus the material world is not just a display of our technology and culture, it is part of us, we invented it, we made it and it makes us who we are. The fundamental importance of materials is made clear from the naming of ages of civilizations as illustrated in figure 1 below.

Fig. 1 The impact of materials in human civilization


The earliest stone toolmaking developed by at least 2.6 million years ago. The Early Stone age began with the most basic stone implements made by early humans. In that age, human start making hammer stones, stone cores, and sharp stone flakes. By about 1.76 million years ago, early humans began to make Acheulean handaxes and other large cutting tools. So lest say bay this dramatic evolution in the Stone Age we are looking for the use of iron and bronze to produce a new tools more promoting, more robust and more useful and challenging to get power in the community.

Early and through iron and bronze ages, human start looking for a change in the residential location of houses belonging to elites and/or leaders occurred. In the fourth and early third millennia, various sites feature settlement plans in which village leaders, or higher-ranking residents, inhabited homes in close proximity to main gates. By the later third millennium, the trend was to locate homes away from the gates; sometimes behind physical barriers by the uses of the new facilities which are very easily made from the new available materials (stone iron bronze…). These changes are concomitant with several plateau wide phenomena, including increases in population and settlement size at emerging regional centers, and the establishment of international trade networks. The reasons are underlying this residential adjustment lie in the need for protection against outsiders while also desiring to impress both outsiders and those living within the community. So as obvious Remarque the impact of materials in the development of humanities, cannot be clogged or stopped and it started from 2.6 million years ago

Any way let’s get a look into the role of  perovskite materials in development of modern life which just started after the discovery of another kind of materials with the formula CaTiO3. The discovery of calcium titanite (CaTiO3) in 1839 by a Russian mineralogist Perovski was considered to be the origin of perovskite, and materials with the same type of crystal structure as that of CaTiO3 (Figure 2) were considered as perovskite materials (structure). The general chemical formula used to describe the perovskite materials is ABX3, in which A and B are cations, with A size is larger than that of B, and X is the anion, usually oxides or halogens.


Fig. 2 Calcium Titanate CaTiO3 mineral

The perovskite materials are unique due to their physical properties such as high-absorption coefficient, long-range ambipolar charge transport, low exciton-binding energy, high dielectric constant, ferroelectric properties. At the level of understanding the fundamental of perovskites, the scientific community started giving a great interest to this family of materials.

In the 1950s the scientists  G. H. Jonker and J. H. van Santen [1] have found that materials based on mixed-valence perovskite manganite with interesting magnetoresistance properties. Since then, the scientific community started to understand that perovskite materials will have a remarkable impact in the development of our modern life. Therefore, a huge amount of investigations and studies have been launched, the objective was to find new perovskite materials with new properties and new roots of synthesis. The amount of information in the literature about perovskites lead us to some pertinent conclusions: the family of perovskite have electronic, magnetic and catalytic properties [2, 11].

Therefore, perovskite materials are of great technological interest, with a wide range of applications shown in figure 3 such as electronic devices and sensors [12], magnetic memory components [13], electrode and electrolyte materials for fuel cells [14], and absorbing layer for solar cells devices [15].

Fig. 3 Possible application of perovskite materials



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