Yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) was implanted with 15 keV Fe or Ti ions up to a dose of 8×1016 at cm−2. The resulting “dopant” concentrations exceeded the concentrations corresponding to the equilibrium solid solubility of Fe2O3 or TiO2 in YSZ. During oxidation in air at 400° C, the Fe and Ti concentration in the outermost surface layer increased even further until a surface layer was formed of mainly Fe2O3 and TiO2, as shown by XPS and ISS measurements. From the time dependence of the Fe and Ti depth profiles during anneal treatments, diffusion coefficients were calculated. From those values it was estimated that the maximum temperature at which the Fe- and Ti-implanted layers can be operated without changes in the dopant concentration profiles was 700 and 800° C, respectively. The high-dose implanted layer was completely amorphous even after annealing up to 1100° C, as shown by scanning transmission electron microscopy. Preliminary measurements on 50 keV Ag implanted YSZ indicate that in this case the amorphous layer recrystallizes into fine grained cubic YSZ at a temperature of about 1000° C. The average grain diameter was estimated at 20 nm, whereas the original grain size of YSZ before implantation was 400 nm. This result implies that the grain size in the surface of a ceramic material can be decreased by ion beam amorphisation and subsequent recrystallisation at elevated temperatures.
van Hassel, B. A., & Burggraaf, A. J. (1991). Microstructure and thermal stability of Fe, Ti and Ag implanted Yttria-stabilized zirconia. Applied physics A: solids and surfaces, 53(2), 155-163. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00323876