Indexed on: 17 Jul '14Published on: 17 Jul '14Published in: The Journal of chemical physics
KTaO3 (KTO) is a useful prototypical perovskite for examining the mechanisms of proton transport in perovskites. Previously, Gomez et al. [J. Chem. Phys. 126, 194701 (2007)] reported density functional theory (DFT) calculations describing proton hopping in defect-free KTO. We use DFT calculations to extend that work in two directions, namely, understanding isotope effects in low and high temperature proton transport and the role of native point defects in KTO. At cryogenic temperatures, quantum tunneling plays a vital role in the net hopping of protons in KTO. At the elevated temperature characteristic of applications involving proton-conducting perovskites, tunneling is negligible but zero point energy effects still lead to non-negligible isotope effects for H(+), D(+), and T(+). We also use DFT to characterize the populations of relevant point defects in KTO as a function of experimental conditions, and to examine the migration of protons that are close in proximity to these defects. This information gives useful insight into the overall transport rates of protons through KTO under a variety of external environments. We also assess the overall diffusivity of protons in KTO at various ranges of oxygen vacancy concentrations by performing kinetic Monte Carlo simulations.