Ambipolar transport describes the nonequilibrium, coupled motion of positively and negatively charged particles to ensure that internal electric fields remain small. It is commonly invoked in the semiconductor community where the motion of excess electrons and holes drift and diffuse together. However, the concept of ambipolar transport is not limited to semiconductor physics. Materials scientists working on ion conducting ceramics understand ambipolar transport dictates the coupled diffusion of ions and the rate is limited by the ion with the lowest diffusion coefficient. In this Perspective, we review a third application of ambipolar transport relevant to mixed ionic-electronic conducting materials for which the motion of ions is expected to be coupled to electronic carriers. In this unique situation, the ambipolar diffusion model has been successful at explaining the photoenhanced diffusion of metal ions in chalcogenide glasses and other properties of materials. Recent examples of photoenhanced phenomena in metal halide perovskites are discussed and indicate that mixed ionic-electronic ambipolar transport is similarly important for a deep understanding of these emerging materials.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry