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A Study of the Mechanical Behavior Of Nanocrystalline Metals Using Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)

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The study of the mechanical behavior of nanocrystalline metals using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices lies at the intersection of nanotechnology, mechanical engineering and material science. The extremely small grains that make up nanocrystalline metals lead to higher strength but lower

The study of the mechanical behavior of nanocrystalline metals using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices lies at the intersection of nanotechnology, mechanical engineering and material science. The extremely small grains that make up nanocrystalline metals lead to higher strength but lower ductility as compared to bulk metals. Effects of strain-rate dependence on the mechanical behavior of nanocrystalline metals are explored. Knowing the strain rate dependence of mechanical properties would enable optimization of material selection for different applications and lead to lighter structural components and enhanced sustainability.

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2014-05

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Electronic excitations in topological insulators studied by Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy

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Topological insulators with conducting surface states yet insulating bulk states have generated a lot of interest amongst the physics community due to their varied characteristics and possible applications. Doped topological insulators have presented newer physical states of matter where topological

Topological insulators with conducting surface states yet insulating bulk states have generated a lot of interest amongst the physics community due to their varied characteristics and possible applications. Doped topological insulators have presented newer physical states of matter where topological order co&ndashexists; with other physical properties (like magnetic order). The electronic states of these materials are very intriguing and pose problems and the possible solutions to understanding their unique behaviors. In this work, we use Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (EELS) – an analytical TEM tool to study both core&ndashlevel; and valence&ndashlevel; excitations in Bi2Se3 and Cu(doped)Bi2Se3 topological insulators. We use this technique to retrieve information on the valence, bonding nature, co-ordination and lattice site occupancy of the undoped and the doped systems. Using the reference materials Cu(I)Se and Cu(II)Se we try to compare and understand the nature of doping that copper assumes in the lattice. And lastly we utilize the state of the art monochromated Nion UltraSTEM 100 to study electronic/vibrational excitations at a record energy resolution from sub-nm regions in the sample.

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Date Created
2013

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Process characterization of silver iodide-silver metaphosphate ionic glass molding for solid state superionic stamping

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In this research work, the process optimization of silver iodide-silver meta phosphate ionic glass molding for solid state super ionic stamping was performed. Solid state super ionic stamping is a process of all solid ambient condition electrochemical nano patterning technique.

In this research work, the process optimization of silver iodide-silver meta phosphate ionic glass molding for solid state super ionic stamping was performed. Solid state super ionic stamping is a process of all solid ambient condition electrochemical nano patterning technique. In solid state super ionic stamping, anodic dissolution on a solid electrolyte –metal interface and subsequent charge-mass transport in the solid electrolyte is used for obtaining nanometer features on the metallic surface. The solid electrolyte referred to as the stamp is pre-patterned with features to be obtained on the metallic surface. This research developed the process for obtaining stamp with specific dimensions by making use of compression molding. The compression molding process was optimized by varying the five process parameters-temperature, pressure, holding time, pressing time and cooling time. The objective of the process optimization was to obtain best geometrical features for the stamp including flatness and surface roughness and by optimizing the compression molding process, stamp with minimum flatness and surface roughness was obtained. After the experimental optimization of the process was completed, statistical analysis was performed to understand the relative significance of the process parameters and the interaction of the process parameters on the flatness and surface roughness values of the molded stamp. Structural characterization was performed to obtain the variation of average domain size of ionic glass particles within the molded glass disk by varying the process parameters of holding time, pressing time and cooling time.

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2015

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Morphology evolution in dealloying

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Dealloying, the selective dissolution of an elemental component from an alloy, is an important corrosion mechanism and a technological significant means to fabricate nanoporous structures for a variety of applications. In noble metal alloys, dealloying proceeds above a composition dependent

Dealloying, the selective dissolution of an elemental component from an alloy, is an important corrosion mechanism and a technological significant means to fabricate nanoporous structures for a variety of applications. In noble metal alloys, dealloying proceeds above a composition dependent critical potential, and bi-continuous structure evolves "simultaneously" as a result of the interplay between percolation dissolution and surface diffusion. In contrast, dealloying in alloys that show considerable solid-state mass transport at ambient temperature is largely unexplored despite its relevance to nanoparticle catalysts and Li-ion anodes. In my dissertation, I discuss the behaviors of two alloy systems in order to elucidate the role of bulk lattice diffusion in dealloying. First, Mg-Cd alloys are chosen to show that when the dealloying is controlled by bulk diffusion, a new type of porosity - negative void dendrites will form, and the process mirrors electrodeposition. Then, Li-Sn alloys are studied with respect to the composition, particle size and dealloying rate effects on the morphology evolution. Under the right condition, dealloying of Li-Sn supported by percolation dissolution results in the same bi-continuous structure as nanoporous noble metals; whereas lattice diffusion through the otherwise "passivated" surface allows for dealloying with no porosity evolution. The interactions between bulk diffusion, surface diffusion and dissolution are revealed by chronopotentiometry and linear sweep voltammetry technics. The better understanding of dealloying from these experiments enables me to construct a brief review summarizing the electrochemistry and morphology aspects of dealloying as well as offering interpretations to new observations such as critical size effect and encased voids in nanoporous gold. At the end of the dissertation, I will describe a preliminary attempt to generalize the morphology evolution "rules of dealloying" to all solid-to-solid interfacial controlled phase transition process, demonstrating that bi-continuous morphologies can evolve regardless of the nature of parent phase.

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2013

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Densification of Li7La3Zr2O12 Electrospun Nanowires Through Processing Control of Intermediate La2Zr2O7 Phase (Electrospinning Synthesis of Electrolytes for Solid-state Lithium-ion Batteries)

Description

Solid-state lithium-ion batteries are a major area of research due to their increased safety characteristics over conventional liquid electrolyte batteries. Lithium lanthanum zirconate (LLZO) is a promising garnet-type ceramic for use as a solid-state electrolyte due to its high ionic

Solid-state lithium-ion batteries are a major area of research due to their increased safety characteristics over conventional liquid electrolyte batteries. Lithium lanthanum zirconate (LLZO) is a promising garnet-type ceramic for use as a solid-state electrolyte due to its high ionic conductivity. The material exists in two dierent phases, one that is cubic in structure and one that is tetragonal. One potential synthesis method that results in LLZO in the more useful, cubic phase, is electrospinning, where a mat of nanowires is spun and then calcined into LLZO. A phase containing lanthanum zirconate (LZO) and amorphous lithium occursas an intermediate during the calcination process. LZO has been shown to be a sintering aid for LLZO, allowing for lower sintering temperatures. Here it is shown the eects of internal LZO on the sintered pellets. This is done by varying the 700C calcination time to transform diering amounts of LZO and LLZO in electrospun nanowires, and then using the same sintering parameters for each sample. X-ray diraction was used to get structural and compositional analysis of both the calcined powders and sintered pellets. Pellets formed from wires calcined at 1 hour or longer contained only LLZO even if the calcined powder had only undergone the rst phase transformation. The relative density of the pellet with no initial LLZO of 61.0% was higher than that of the pellet with no LZO, which had a relative density of 57.7%. This allows for the same, or slightly higher, quality material to be synthesized with a shorter amount of processing time.

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2017-05

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Conductive polymeric binder for lithium-ion battery anode

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Tin (Sn) has a high-specific capacity (993 mAhg-1) as an anode material for Li-ion batteries. To overcome the poor cycling performance issue caused by its large volume expansion and pulverization during the charging and discharging process, many researchers put efforts

Tin (Sn) has a high-specific capacity (993 mAhg-1) as an anode material for Li-ion batteries. To overcome the poor cycling performance issue caused by its large volume expansion and pulverization during the charging and discharging process, many researchers put efforts into it. Most of the strategies are through nanostructured material design and introducing conductive polymer binders that serve as matrix of the active material in anode. This thesis aims for developing a novel method for preparing the anode to improve the capacity retention rate. This would require the anode to have high electrical conductivity, high ionic conductivity, and good mechanical properties, especially elasticity. Here the incorporation of a conducting polymer and a conductive hydrogel in Sn-based anodes using a one-step electrochemical deposition via a 3-electrode cell method is reported: the Sn particles and conductive component can be electrochemically synthesized and simultaneously deposited into a hybrid thin film onto the working electrode directly forming the anode. A well-defined three dimensional network structure consisting of Sn nanoparticles coated by conducting polymers is achieved. Such a conductive polymer-hydrogel network has multiple advantageous features: meshporous polymeric structure can offer the pathway for lithium ion transfer between the anode and electrolyte; the continuous electrically conductive polypyrrole network, with the electrostatic interaction with elastic, porous hydrogel, poly (2-acrylamido-2-methyl-1-propanesulfonic acid-co-acrylonitrile) (PAMPS) as both the crosslinker and doping anion for polypyrrole (PPy) can decrease the volume expansion by creating porous scaffold and softening the system itself. Furthermore, by increasing the amount of PAMPS and creating an interval can improve the cycling performance, resulting in improved capacity retention about 80% after 20 cycles, compared with only 54% of that of the control sample without PAMPS. The cycle is performed under current of 0.1 C.

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Date Created
2015

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Synthesis and characterization of microporous inorganic membranes for propylene/propane separation

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Membrane-based gas separation is promising for efficient propylene/propane (C3H6/C3H8) separation with low energy consumption and minimum environment impact. Two microporous inorganic membrane candidates, MFI-type zeolite membrane and carbon molecular sieve membrane (CMS) have demonstrated excellent thermal and chemical stability. Application

Membrane-based gas separation is promising for efficient propylene/propane (C3H6/C3H8) separation with low energy consumption and minimum environment impact. Two microporous inorganic membrane candidates, MFI-type zeolite membrane and carbon molecular sieve membrane (CMS) have demonstrated excellent thermal and chemical stability. Application of these membranes into C3H6/C3H8 separation has not been well investigated. This dissertation presents fundamental studies on membrane synthesis, characterization and C3H6/C3H8 separation properties of MFI zeolite membrane and CMS membrane.

MFI zeolite membranes were synthesized on α-alumina supports by secondary growth method. Novel positron annihilation spectroscopy (PAS) techniques were used to non-destructively characterize the pore structure of these membranes. PAS reveals a bimodal pore structure consisting of intracrystalline zeolitic micropores of ~0.6 nm in diameter and irregular intercrystalline micropores of 1.4 to 1.8 nm in size for the membranes. The template-free synthesized membrane exhibited a high permeance but a low selectivity in C3H6/C3H8 mixture separation.

CMS membranes were synthesized by coating/pyrolysis method on mesoporous γ-alumina support. Such supports allow coating of thin, high-quality polymer films and subsequent CMS membranes with no infiltration into support pores. The CMS membranes show strong molecular sieving effect, offering a high C3H6/C3H8 mixture selectivity of ~30. Reduction in membrane thickness from 500 nm to 300 nm causes an increase in C3H8 permeance and He/N2 selectivity, but a decrease in the permeance of He, N2 and C3H6 and C3H6/C3H8 selectivity. This can be explained by the thickness dependent chain mobility of the polymer film resulting in final carbon membrane of reduced pore size with different effects on transport of gas of different sizes, including possible closure of C3H6-accessible micropores.

CMS membranes demonstrate excellent C3H6/C3H8 separation performance over a wide range of feed pressure, composition and operation temperature. No plasticization was observed at a feed pressure up to 100 psi. The permeation and separation is mainly controlled by diffusion instead of adsorption. CMS membrane experienced a decline in permeance, and an increase in selectivity over time under on-stream C3H6/C3H8 separation. This aging behavior is due to the reduction in effective pore size and porosity caused by oxygen chemisorption and physical aging of the membrane structure.

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2015

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Atomic level study of structural changes of TiO2 based photocatalysts during solar water splitting reactions using TEM

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Photocatalytic water splitting is a promising technique to produce H2 fuels from water using sustainable solar energy. To better design photocatalysts, the understanding of charge transfer at surfaces/interfaces and the corresponding structure change during the reaction is very important. Local

Photocatalytic water splitting is a promising technique to produce H2 fuels from water using sustainable solar energy. To better design photocatalysts, the understanding of charge transfer at surfaces/interfaces and the corresponding structure change during the reaction is very important. Local structural and chemical information on nanoparticle surfaces or interfaces can be achieved through characterizations on transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Emphasis should be put on materials structure changes during the reactions in their “working conditions”. Environmental TEM with in situ light illumination system allows the photocatalysts to be studied under light irradiation when exposed to H2O vapor. A set of ex situ and in situ TEM characterizations are carried out on typical types of TiO2 based photocatalysts. The observed structure changes during the reaction are correlated with the H2 production rate for structure-property relationships.

A surface disordering was observed in situ when well-defined anatase TiO2 rhombohedral nanoparticles were exposed to 1 Torr H2O vapor and 10suns light inside the environmental TEM. The disordering is believed to be related to high density of hydroxyl groups formed on surface oxygen vacancies during water splitting reactions.

Pt co-catalyst on TiO2 is able to split pure water producing H2 and O2. The H2 production rate drops during the reaction. Particle size growth during reaction was discovered with Z-contrast images. The particle size growth is believed to be a photo-electro-chemical Ostwald ripening.

Characterizations were also carried out on a more complicated photocatalyst system: Ni/NiO core/shell co-catalyst on TiO2. A decrease of the H2 production rate resulting from photo-corrosion was observed. The Ni is believed to be oxidized to Ni2+ by OH• radicals which are intermediate products of H2O oxidation. The mechanism that the OH• radicals leak into the cores through cracks on NiO shells is more supported by experiments.

Overall this research has done a comprehensive ex situ and in situ TEM characterizations following some typical TiO2 based photocatalysts during reactions. This research has shown the technique availability to study photocatalyst inside TEM in photocatalytic conditions. It also demonstrates the importance to follow structure changes of materials during reactions in understanding deactivation mechanisms.

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2015

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Morphology evolution during dealloying at high homologous temperature

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Dealloying, the selective electrochemical dissolution of an active component from an alloy, often results in nanoscale bi-continuous solid/void morphologies. These structures are attracting attention for a wide range of applications including catalysis, sensing and actuation. The evolution of these nanoporous

Dealloying, the selective electrochemical dissolution of an active component from an alloy, often results in nanoscale bi-continuous solid/void morphologies. These structures are attracting attention for a wide range of applications including catalysis, sensing and actuation. The evolution of these nanoporous structures has been widely studied for the case at low homologous temperature, TH, such as in Ag-Au, Cu-Au, Cu-Pt, etc. Since at low TH the solid-state mobility of the components is of order 10-30 cm2s-1 or less, percolation dissolution is the only mechanism available to support dealloying over technologically relevant time scales. Without the necessity of solid-state mass transport, percolation dissolution involves sharp transitions based on two key features, the parting limit and critical potential.

Dealloying under conditions of high TH, (or high intrinsic diffusivity of the more electrochemically reactive component) is considerably more complicated than at low TH. Since solid-state mass transport is available to support this process, a rich set of morphologies, including negative or void dendrites, Kirkendall voids and bi-continuous porous structures, can evolve. In order to study dealloying at high TH we have examined the behavior of Li-Sn and Li-Pb alloys. The intrinsic diffusivities of Li were measured in these alloys using electrochemical titration and time of flight measurements. Morphology evolution was studied with varying alloy composition, host dimension and imposed electrochemical conditions. Owing to diffusive transport, there is no parting limit for dealloying, however, there is a compositional threshold (pPD) as well as a critical potential for the operation of percolation dissolution and the formation of bi-continuous structures. Negative or void dendrite morphologies evolve at compositions below pPD and at large values of the applied electrochemical potential when the rate of dealloying is limited by solid-state mass transport. This process is isomorphic to dendrite formation in electrodeposition. Kirkendall voiding morphologies evolve below the critical potential over the entire range of alloy compositions.

We summarize our results by introducing dealloying morphology diagrams that we use to graphically illustrate the electrochemical conditions resulting in various morphologies that can form under conditions of low and high TH.

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Date Created
2017

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Tuning the electronic properties of nanoscale semiconductors

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Nanoscale semiconductors with their unique properties and potential applications have been a focus of extensive research in recent years. There are many ways in which semiconductors change the world with computers, cell phones, and solar panels, and nanoscale semiconductors having

Nanoscale semiconductors with their unique properties and potential applications have been a focus of extensive research in recent years. There are many ways in which semiconductors change the world with computers, cell phones, and solar panels, and nanoscale semiconductors having a promising potential to expand the efficiency, reduce the cost, and improve the flexibility and durability of their design. In this study, theoretical quantum mechanical simulations were performed on several different nanoscale semiconductor materials, including graphene/phosphorene nanoribbons and group III-V nanowires. First principles density functional theory (DFT) was used to study the electronic and structural properties of these nanomaterials in their fully relaxed and strained states. The electronic band gap, effective masses of charge carriers, electronic orbitals, and density of states were most commonly examined with strain, both from intrinsic and external sources. For example, armchair graphene nanoribbons (AGNR) were found to have unprecedented band gap-strain dependence. Phosphorene nanoribbons (PNRs) demonstrate a different behavior, including a chemical scissors effect, and studies revealed a strong relationship between passivation species and band gap tunability. Unlike the super mechanical flexibility of AGNRs and PNRs which can sustain incredible strain, modest yet large strain was applied to group III-V nanowires such as GaAs/InAs. The calculations showed that a direct and indirect band gap transition occurs at some critical strains and the origination of these gap transitions were explored in detail. In addition to the pure nanowires, GaAs/InAs core/shell heterostructure nanowires were also studied. Due to the lattice mismatch between GaAs and InAs, the intrinsic strain in the core/shell nanowires demonstrates an interesting behavior on tuning the electronic properties. This interesting behavior suggests a mechanical way to exert compressive strain on nanowires experimentally, and can create a finite quantum confinement effect on the core.

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Date Created
2016