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Determination of electrostatic potential and charge distribution of semiconductor nanostructures using off-axis electron holography

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The research of this dissertation involved quantitative characterization of electrostatic potential and charge distribution of semiconductor nanostructures using off-axis electron holography, as well as other electron microscopy techniques. The investigated nanostructures included Ge quantum dots, Ge/Si core/shell nanowires, and polytype

The research of this dissertation involved quantitative characterization of electrostatic potential and charge distribution of semiconductor nanostructures using off-axis electron holography, as well as other electron microscopy techniques. The investigated nanostructures included Ge quantum dots, Ge/Si core/shell nanowires, and polytype heterostructures in ZnSe nanobelts. Hole densities were calculated for the first two systems, and the spontaneous polarization for wurtzite ZnSe was determined. Epitaxial Ge quantum dots (QDs) embedded in boron-doped silicon were studied. Reconstructed phase images showed extra phase shifts near the base of the QDs, which was attributed to hole accumulation in these regions. The resulting charge density was (0.03±0.003) holes
m3, which corresponded to about 30 holes localized to a pyramidal, 25-nm-wide Ge QD. This value was in reasonable agreement with the average number of holes confined to each Ge dot determined using a capacitance-voltage measurement. Hole accumulation in Ge/Si core/shell nanowires was observed and quantified using off-axis electron holography and other electron microscopy techniques. High-angle annular-dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy images and electron holograms were obtained from specific nanowires. The intensities of the former were utilized to calculate the projected thicknesses for both the Ge core and the Si shell. The excess phase shifts measured by electron holography across the nanowires indicated the presence of holes inside the Ge cores. The hole density in the core regions was calculated to be (0.4±0.2)
m3 based on a simplified coaxial cylindrical model. Homogeneous zincblende/wurtzite heterostructure junctions in ZnSe nanobelts were studied. The observed electrostatic fields and charge accumulation were attributed to spontaneous polarization present in the wurtzite regions since the contributions from piezoelectric polarization were shown to be insignificant based on geometric phase analysis. The spontaneous polarization for the wurtzite ZnSe was calculated to be psp = -(0.0029±0.00013) C/m2, whereas a first principles' calculation gave psp = -0.0063 C/m2. The atomic arrangements and polarity continuity at the zincblende/wurtzite interface were determined through aberration-corrected high-angle annular-dark-field imaging, which revealed no polarity reversal across the interface. Overall, the successful outcomes of these studies confirmed the capability of off-axis electron holography to provide quantitative electrostatic information for nanostructured materials.

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2011

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Growth, characterization, and thermodynamics of III-nitride semiconductors

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III-nitride alloys are wide band gap semiconductors with a broad range of applications in optoelectronic devices such as light emitting diodes and laser diodes. Indium gallium nitride light emitting diodes have been successfully produced over the past decade. But the

III-nitride alloys are wide band gap semiconductors with a broad range of applications in optoelectronic devices such as light emitting diodes and laser diodes. Indium gallium nitride light emitting diodes have been successfully produced over the past decade. But the progress of green emission light emitting devices has been limited by the incorporation of indium in the alloy, mainly due to phase separation. This difficulty could be addressed by studying the growth and thermodynamics of these alloys. Knowledge of thermodynamic phase stabilities and of pressure - temperature - composition phase diagrams is important for an understanding of the boundary conditions of a variety of growth techniques. In this dissertation a study of the phase separation of indium gallium nitride is conducted using a regular solution model of the ternary alloy system. Graphs of Gibbs free energy of mixing were produced for a range of temperatures. Binodal and spinodal decomposition curves show the stable and unstable regions of the alloy in equilibrium. The growth of gallium nitride and indium gallium nitride was attempted by the reaction of molten gallium - indium alloy with ammonia at atmospheric pressure. Characterization by X-ray diffraction, photoluminescence, and secondary electron microscopy show that the samples produced by this method contain only gallium nitride in the hexagonal phase. The instability of indium nitride at the temperatures required for activation of ammonia accounts for these results. The photoluminescence spectra show a correlation between the intensity of a broad green emission, related to native defects, and indium composition used in the molten alloy. A different growth method was used to grow two columnar-structured gallium nitride films using ammonium chloride and gallium as reactants and nitrogen and ammonia as carrier gasses. Investigation by X-ray diffraction and spatially-resolved cathodoluminescence shows the film grown at higher temperature to be primarily hexagonal with small quantities of cubic crystallites, while the one grown at lower temperature to be pure hexagonal. This was also confirmed by low temperature photoluminescence measurements. The results presented here show that cubic and hexagonal crystallites can coexist, with the cubic phase having a much sharper and stronger luminescence. Controlled growth of the cubic phase GaN crystallites can be of use for high efficiency light detecting and emitting devices. The ammonolysis of a precursor was used to grow InGaN powders with different indium composition. High purity hexagonal GaN and InN were obtained. XRD spectra showed complete phase separation for samples with x < 30%, with ~ 9% indium incorporation in the 30% sample. The presence of InGaN in this sample was confirmed by PL measurements, where luminescence from both GaN and InGaN band edge are observed. The growth of higher indium compositions samples proved to be difficult, with only the presence of InN in the sample. Nonetheless, by controlling parameters like temperature and time may lead to successful growth of this III-nitride alloy by this method.

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2011

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Bridging divides through technology use: transnationalism and digital literacy socialization

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In this study, I investigate the digital literacy practices of adult immigrants, and their relationship with transnational processes and practices. Specifically, I focus on their conditions of access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) in their life trajectories, their

In this study, I investigate the digital literacy practices of adult immigrants, and their relationship with transnational processes and practices. Specifically, I focus on their conditions of access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) in their life trajectories, their conditions of learning in a community center, and their appropriation of digital literacy practices for transnational purposes. By studying the culturally situated nature of digital literacies of adult learners with transnational affiliations, I build on recent empirical work in the fields of New Literacy Studies, sociocultural approaches to learning, and transnational studies. In this qualitative study, I utilized ethnographic techniques for data collection, including participant observation, interviewing, and collection of material and electronic artifacts. I drew from case study approaches to analyze and present the experiences of five adult first-generation immigrant participants. I also negotiated multiple positionalities during the two phases of the study: as a participant observer and instructor's aide during the Basic Computer Skills course participants attended, and as a researcher-practitioner in the Web Design course that followed. From these multiple vantage points, my analysis demonstrates that participants' access to ICTs is shaped by structural factors, family dynamics, and individuals' constructions of the value of digital literacies. These factors influence participants' conditions of access to material resources, such as computer equipment, and access to mentoring opportunities with members of their social networks. In addition, my analysis of the instructional practices in the classroom shows that instructors used multiple modalities, multiple languages and specialized discourses to scaffold participants' understandings of digital spaces and interfaces. Lastly, in my analysis of participants' repertoires of digital literacy practices, I found that their engagement in technology use for purposes of communication, learning, political participation and online publishing supported their maintenance of transnational affiliations. Conversely, participants' transnational ties and resources supported their appropriation of digital literacies in everyday practice. This study concludes with a discussion on the relationship among learning, digital literacies and transnationalism, and the contributions of critical and ethnographic perspectives to the study of programs that can bridge digital inequality for minority groups.

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2011

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Interface electronic state characterization of plasma enhanced atomic layer deposited dielectrics on GaN

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In this dissertation, the interface chemistry and electronic structure of plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposited (PEALD) dielectrics on GaN are investigated with x-ray and ultraviolet photoemission spectroscopy (XPS and UPS). Three interrelated issues are discussed in this study: (1) PEALD dielectric

In this dissertation, the interface chemistry and electronic structure of plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposited (PEALD) dielectrics on GaN are investigated with x-ray and ultraviolet photoemission spectroscopy (XPS and UPS). Three interrelated issues are discussed in this study: (1) PEALD dielectric growth process optimization, (2) interface electronic structure of comparative PEALD dielectrics on GaN, and (3) interface electronic structure of PEALD dielectrics on Ga- and N-face GaN. The first study involved an in-depth case study of PEALD Al2O3 growth using dimethylaluminum isopropoxide, with a special focus on oxygen plasma effects. Saturated and self-limiting growth of Al2O3 films were obtained with an enhanced growth rate within the PEALD temperature window (25-220 ºC). The properties of Al2O3 deposited at various temperatures were characterized to better understand the relation between the growth parameters and film properties. In the second study, the interface electronic structures of PEALD dielectrics on Ga-face GaN films were measured. Five promising dielectrics (Al2O3, HfO2, SiO2, La2O3, and ZnO) with a range of band gap energies were chosen. Prior to dielectric growth, a combined wet chemical and in-situ H2/N2 plasma clean process was employed to remove the carbon contamination and prepare the surface for dielectric deposition. The surface band bending and band offsets were measured by XPS and UPS for dielectrics on GaN. The trends of the experimental band offsets on GaN were related to the dielectric band gap energies. In addition, the experimental band offsets were near the calculated values based on the charge neutrality level model. The third study focused on the effect of the polarization bound charge of the Ga- and N-face GaN on interface electronic structures. A surface pretreatment process consisting of a NH4OH wet chemical and an in-situ NH3 plasma treatment was applied to remove carbon contamination, retain monolayer oxygen coverage, and potentially passivate N-vacancy related defects. The surface band bending and polarization charge compensation of Ga- and N-face GaN were investigated. The surface band bending and band offsets were determined for Al2O3, HfO2, and SiO2 on Ga- and N-face GaN. Different dielectric thicknesses and post deposition processing were investigated to understand process related defect formation and/or reduction.

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2014

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NMR studies of MRI contrast agents and cementitous materials

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Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is an important phenomenon involving nuclear magnetic moments in magnetic field, which can provide much information about a wide range of materials, including their chemical composition, chemical environments and nuclear spin interactions. The NMR spectrometer has

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is an important phenomenon involving nuclear magnetic moments in magnetic field, which can provide much information about a wide range of materials, including their chemical composition, chemical environments and nuclear spin interactions. The NMR spectrometer has been extensively developed and used in many areas of research. In this thesis, studies in two different areas using NMR are presented. First, a new kind of nanoparticle, Gd(DTPA) intercalated layered double hydroxide (LDH), has been successfully synthesized in the laboratory of Prof. Dey in SEMTE at ASU. In Chapter II, the NMR relaxation studies of two types of LDH (Mg, Al-LDH and Zn, Al-LDH) are presented and the results show that when they are intercalated with Gd(DTPA) they have a higher relaxivity than current commercial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents, such as DTPA in water solution. So this material may be useful as an MRI contrast agent. Several conditions were examined, such as nanoparticle size, pH and intercalation percentage, to determine the optimal relaxivity of this nanoparticle. Further NMR studies and simulations were conducted to provide an explanation for the high relaxivity. Second, fly ash is a kind of cementitious material, which has been of great interest because, when activated by an alkaline solution, it exhibits the capability for replacing ordinary Portland cement as a concrete binder. However, the reaction of activated fly ash is not fully understood. In chapter III, pore structure and NMR studies of activated fly ash using different activators, including NaOH and KOH (4M and 8M) and Na/K silicate, are presented. The pore structure, degree of order and proportion of different components in the reaction product were obtained, which reveal much about the reaction and makeup of the final product.

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2013

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Hafnium oxide as an alternative barrier to aluminum oxide for thermally stable niobium tunnel junctions

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In this research, our goal was to fabricate Josephson junctions that can be stably processed at 300°C or higher. With the purpose of integrating Josephson junction fabrication with the current semiconductor circuit fabrication process, back-end process temperatures (>350 °C) will

In this research, our goal was to fabricate Josephson junctions that can be stably processed at 300°C or higher. With the purpose of integrating Josephson junction fabrication with the current semiconductor circuit fabrication process, back-end process temperatures (>350 °C) will be a key for producing large scale junction circuits reliably, which requires the junctions to be more thermally stable than current Nb/Al-AlOx/Nb junctions. Based on thermodynamics, Hf was chosen to produce thermally stable Nb/Hf-HfOx/Nb superconductor tunnel Josephson junctions that can be grown or processed at elevated temperatures. Also elevated synthesis temperatures improve the structural and electrical properties of Nb electrode layers that could potentially improve junction device performance. The refractory nature of Hf, HfO2 and Nb allow for the formation of flat, abrupt and thermally-stable interfaces. But the current Al-based barrier will have problems when using with high-temperature grown and high-quality Nb. So our work is aimed at using Nb grown at elevated temperatures to fabricate thermally stable Josephson tunnel junctions. As a junction barrier metal, Hf was studied and compared with the traditional Al-barrier material. We have proved that Hf-HfOx is a good barrier candidate for high-temperature synthesized Josephson junction. Hf deposited at 500 °C on Nb forms flat and chemically abrupt interfaces. Nb/Hf-HfOx/Nb Josephson junctions were synthesized, fabricated and characterized with different oxidizing conditions. The results of materials characterization and junction electrical measurements are reported and analyzed. We have improved the annealing stability of Nb junctions and also used high-quality Nb grown at 500 °C as the bottom electrode successfully. Adding a buffer layer or multiple oxidation steps improves the annealing stability of Josephson junctions. We also have attempted to use the Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) method for the growth of Hf oxide as the junction barrier and got tunneling results.

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2013

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Interactions driving the collapse of islet amyloid polypeptide: implications for amyloid aggregation

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Human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP), also known as amylin, is a 37-residue intrinsically disordered hormone involved in glucose regulation and gastric emptying. The aggregation of hIAPP into amyloid fibrils is believed to play a causal role in type 2 diabetes.

Human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP), also known as amylin, is a 37-residue intrinsically disordered hormone involved in glucose regulation and gastric emptying. The aggregation of hIAPP into amyloid fibrils is believed to play a causal role in type 2 diabetes. To date, not much is known about the monomeric state of hIAPP or how it undergoes an irreversible transformation from disordered peptide to insoluble aggregate. IAPP contains a highly conserved disulfide bond that restricts hIAPP(1-8) into a short ring-like structure: N_loop. Removal or chemical reduction of N_loop not only prevents cell response upon binding to the CGRP receptor, but also alters the mass per length distribution of hIAPP fibers and the kinetics of fibril formation. The mechanism by which N_loop affects hIAPP aggregation is not yet understood, but is important for rationalizing kinetics and developing potential inhibitors. By measuring end-to-end contact formation rates, Vaiana et al. showed that N_loop induces collapsed states in IAPP monomers, implying attractive interactions between N_loop and other regions of the disordered polypeptide chain . We show that in addition to being involved in intra-protein interactions, the N_loop is involved in inter-protein interactions, which lead to the formation of extremely long and stable β-turn fibers. These non-amyloid fibers are present in the 10 μM concentration range, under the same solution conditions in which hIAPP forms amyloid fibers. We discuss the effect of peptide cyclization on both intra- and inter-protein interactions, and its possible implications for aggregation. Our findings indicate a potential role of N_loop-N_loop interactions in hIAPP aggregation, which has not previously been explored. Though our findings suggest that N_loop plays an important role in the pathway of amyloid formation, other naturally occurring IAPP variants that contain this structural feature are incapable of forming amyloids. For example, hIAPP readily forms amyloid fibrils in vitro, whereas the rat variant (rIAPP), differing by six amino acids, does not. In addition to being highly soluble, rIAPP is an effective inhibitor of hIAPP fibril formation . Both of these properties have been attributed to rIAPP's three proline residues: A25P, S28P and S29P. Single proline mutants of hIAPP have also been shown to kinetically inhibit hIAPP fibril formation. Because of their intrinsic dihedral angle preferences, prolines are expected to affect conformational ensembles of intrinsically disordered proteins. The specific effect of proline substitutions on IAPP structure and dynamics has not yet been explored, as the detection of such properties is experimentally challenging due to the low molecular weight, fast reconfiguration times, and very low solubility of IAPP peptides. High-resolution techniques able to measure tertiary contact formations are needed to address this issue. We employ a nanosecond laser spectroscopy technique to measure end-to-end contact formation rates in IAPP mutants. We explore the proline substitutions in IAPP and quantify their effects in terms of intrinsic chain stiffness. We find that the three proline mutations found in rIAPP increase chain stiffness. Interestingly, we also find that residue R18 plays an important role in rIAPP's unique chain stiffness and, together with the proline residues, is a determinant for its non-amyloidogenic properties. We discuss the implications of our findings on the role of prolines in IDPs.

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2013

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Nanofluidics for single molecule DNA sequencing

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After a decade of efforts, accurate and affordable DNA sequencing continues to remain an important goal in current research landscape. This thesis starts with a brief overview of the recent updates in the field of DNA sequencing technologies followed by

After a decade of efforts, accurate and affordable DNA sequencing continues to remain an important goal in current research landscape. This thesis starts with a brief overview of the recent updates in the field of DNA sequencing technologies followed by description of the nanofluidics route to single molecule DNA detection. Chapter 2 presents discusses carbon nanotube(CNT) based nanofluidics. The fabrication and DNA sensing measurements of CNT forest membrane devices are presented. Chapter 3 gives the background for functionalization and recognition aspects of reader molecules. Chapter 4 marks the transition to solid state nanopore nanofluidics. The fabrication of Imidazole functionalized nanopores is discussed. The Single Molecule detection results of DNA from Palladium nanopore devices are presented next. Combining chemical recognition to nanopore technology, it has been possible to prolong the duration of single molecule events from the order of a few micro seconds to upto a few milliseconds. Overall, the work presented in this thesis promises longer single molecule detection time in a nanofludic set up and paves way for novel nanopore- tunnel junction devices that combine recognition chemistry, tunneling device and nanopore approach.

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2013

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Modeling layered accretion and the magnetorotational instability in protoplanetary disks

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Understanding the temperature structure of protoplanetary disks (PPDs) is paramount to modeling disk evolution and future planet formation. PPDs around T Tauri stars have two primary heating sources, protostellar irradiation, which depends on the flaring of the disk, and accretional

Understanding the temperature structure of protoplanetary disks (PPDs) is paramount to modeling disk evolution and future planet formation. PPDs around T Tauri stars have two primary heating sources, protostellar irradiation, which depends on the flaring of the disk, and accretional heating as viscous coupling between annuli dissipate energy. I have written a "1.5-D" radiative transfer code to calculate disk temperatures assuming hydrostatic and radiative equilibrium. The model solves for the temperature at all locations simultaneously using Rybicki's method, converges rapidly at high optical depth, and retains full frequency dependence. The likely cause of accretional heating in PPDs is the magnetorotational instability (MRI), which acts where gas ionization is sufficiently high for gas to couple to the magnetic field. This will occur in surface layers of the disk, leaving the interior portions of the disk inactive ("dead zone"). I calculate temperatures in PPDs undergoing such "layered accretion." Since the accretional heating is concentrated far from the midplane, temperatures in the disk's interior are lower than in PPDs modeled with vertically uniform accretion. The method is used to study for the first time disks evolving via the magnetorotational instability, which operates primarily in surface layers. I find that temperatures in layered accretion disks do not significantly differ from those of "passive disks," where no accretional heating exists. Emergent spectra are insensitive to active layer thickness, making it difficult to observationally identify disks undergoing layered vs. uniform accretion. I also calculate the ionization chemistry in PPDs, using an ionization network including multiple charge states of dust grains. Combined with a criterion for the onset of the MRI, I calculate where the MRI can be initiated and the extent of dead zones in PPDs. After accounting for feedback between temperature and active layer thickness, I find the surface density of the actively accreting layers falls rapidly with distance from the protostar, leading to a net outward flow of mass from ~0.1 to 3 AU. The clearing out of the innermost zones is possibly consistent with the observed behavior of recently discovered "transition disks."

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2012

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AFM study of gene silencing by DNA methylation and its interactions involving chromatin and methyl CpG binding proteins

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CpG methylation is an essential requirement for the normal development of mammals, but aberrant changes in the methylation can lead to tumor progression and cancer. An in-depth understanding of this phenomenon can provide insights into the mechanism of gene repression.

CpG methylation is an essential requirement for the normal development of mammals, but aberrant changes in the methylation can lead to tumor progression and cancer. An in-depth understanding of this phenomenon can provide insights into the mechanism of gene repression. We present a study comparing methylated DNA and normal DNA wrt its persistence length and contour length. Although, previous experiments and studies show no difference between the physical properties of the two, the data collected and interpreted here gives a different picture to the methylation phenomena and its effect on gene silencing. The study was extended to the artificially reconstituted chromatin and its interactions with the methyl CpG binding proteins were also probed.

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Date Created
2012