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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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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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Date Created
2013

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Growth and characterization of novel thin films for microelectronic applications

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I studied the properties of novel Co2FeAl0.5Si0.5 (CFAS), ZnGeAs2, and FeS2 (pyrite) thin films for microelectronic applications ranging from spintronic to photovoltaic. CFAS is a half metal with theoretical spin polarization of 100%. I investigated its potential as a spin

I studied the properties of novel Co2FeAl0.5Si0.5 (CFAS), ZnGeAs2, and FeS2 (pyrite) thin films for microelectronic applications ranging from spintronic to photovoltaic. CFAS is a half metal with theoretical spin polarization of 100%. I investigated its potential as a spin injector, for spintronic applications, by studying the critical steps involved in the injection of spin polarized electron populations from tunnel junctions containing CFAS electrodes. Epitaxial CFAS thin films with L21 structure and saturation magnetizations of over 1200 emu/cm3 were produced by optimization of the sputtering growth conditions. Point contact Andreev reflection measurements show that the spin polarization at the CFAS electrode surface exceeds 70%. Analyses of the electrical properties of tunnel junctions with a superconducting Pb counter-electrode indicate that transport through native Al oxide barriers is mostly from direct tunneling, while that through the native CFAS oxide barriers is not. ZnGeAs2 is a semiconductor comprised of only inexpensive and earth-abundant elements. The electronic structure and defect properties are similar in many ways to GaAs. Thus, in theory, efficient solar cells could be made with ZnGeAs2 if similar quality material to that of GaAs could be produced. To understand the thermochemistry and determine the rate limiting steps of ZnGeAs2 thin-film synthesis, the (a) thermal decomposition rate and (b) elemental composition and deposition rate of films were measured. It is concluded that the ZnGeAs2 thin film synthesis is a metastable process with an activation energy of 1.08±0.05 eV for the kinetically-limited decomposition rate and an evaporation coefficient of ~10-3. The thermochemical analysis presented here can be used to predict optimal conditions of ZnGeAs2 physical vapor deposition and thermal processing. Pyrite (FeS2) is another semiconductor that has tremendous potential for use in photovoltaic applications if high quality materials could be made. Here, I present the layer-by-layer growth of single-phase pyrite thin-films on heated substrates using sequential evaporation of Fe under high-vacuum followed by sulfidation at S pressures between 1 mTorr and 1 Torr. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy reveals high-quality, defect-free pyrite grains were produces by this method. It is demonstrated that epitaxial pyrite layer was produced on natural pyrite substrates with this method.

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Date Created
2013

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Effect of helium ion irradiation on the tunneling behavior in niobium/aluminum/aluminum oxide/niobium Josephson junctions

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The study of high energy particle irradiation effect on Josephson junction tri-layers is relevant to applications in space and radioactive environments. It also allows us to investigate the influence of defects and interfacial intermixing on the junction electrical characteristics. In

The study of high energy particle irradiation effect on Josephson junction tri-layers is relevant to applications in space and radioactive environments. It also allows us to investigate the influence of defects and interfacial intermixing on the junction electrical characteristics. In this work, we studied the influence of 2MeV Helium ion irradiation with doses up to 5.2×1016 ions/cm2 on the tunneling behavior of Nb/Al/AlOx/Nb Josephson junctions. Structural and analytical TEM characterization, combined with SRIM modeling, indicates that over 4nm of intermixing occurred at the interfaces. EDX analysis after irradiation, suggests that the Al and O compositions from the barrier are collectively distributed together over a few nanometers. Surprisingly, the IV characteristics were largely unchanged. The normal resistance, Rn, increased slightly (<20%) after the initial dose of 3.5×1015 ions/cm2 and remained constant after that. This suggests that tunnel barrier electrical properties were not affected much, despite the significant changes in the chemical distribution of the barrier's Al and O shown in SRIM modeling and TEM pictures. The onset of quasi-particle current, sum of energy gaps (2Δ), dropped systematically from 2.8meV to 2.6meV with increasing dosage. Similarly, the temperature onset of the Josephson current dropped from 9.2K to 9.0K. This suggests that the order parameter at the barrier interface has decreased as a result of a reduced mean free path in the Al proximity layer and a reduction in the transition temperature of the Nb electrode near the barrier. The dependence of Josephson current on the magnetic field and temperature does not change significantly with irradiation, suggesting that intermixing into the Nb electrode is significantly less than the penetration depth.

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Date Created
2012

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Characterization of MBE Grown Metal, Semiconductor and Superconductor Films and Interfaces by Concurrent Use of In Situ Reflection High Energy Electron Diffraction (RHEED) and Reflection Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (REELS)

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This work is an investigation into the information provided by the concurrent use of in situ reflection high energy electron diffraction (RHEED) and reflection electron energy loss spectroscopy (REELS). The two analytical methods were employed during growth of metal, semiconductor

This work is an investigation into the information provided by the concurrent use of in situ reflection high energy electron diffraction (RHEED) and reflection electron energy loss spectroscopy (REELS). The two analytical methods were employed during growth of metal, semiconductor and superconductor thin films by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). Surface sensitivity of the REELS spectrometer was found to be less than 1 nm for 20 KeV electrons incident at a 2 degree angle to an atomically flat film surface, agreeing with the standard electron escape depth data when adjusted incident angle. Film surface topography was found to strongly influence the REELS spectra and this was correlated with in situ RHEED patterns and ex situ analysis by comparison with atomic force microscopy (AFM). It was observed in all the experimental results that from very smooth films the plasmon peak maxima did not fall at the predicted surface plasmon values but at slightly higher energies, even for nearly atomically flat films. This suggested the REELS plasmon loss spectra are always a combination of surface and bulk plasmon losses. The resulting summation of these two types of losses shifted the peak to below the bulk plasmon value but held its minimum to a higher energy than the pure surface plasmon value. Curve fitting supported this conclusion.

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Date Created
2012

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Developing a Framework for the in-situ Analysis of Artists’ Prints and Paintings via Hyperspectral Imaging

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Hyperspectral imaging is a novel technology which allows for the collection of reflectance spectra of a sample in-situ and at a distance. A rapidly developing technology, hyperspectral imaging has been of particular interest in the field of art characterization, authentication,

Hyperspectral imaging is a novel technology which allows for the collection of reflectance spectra of a sample in-situ and at a distance. A rapidly developing technology, hyperspectral imaging has been of particular interest in the field of art characterization, authentication, and conservation as it avoids the pitfalls of traditional characterization techniques and allows for the rapid and wide collection of data never before possible. It is hypothesized that by combining the power of hyperspectral imaging with machine learning, a new framework for the in-situ and automated characterization and authentication of artworks can be developed. This project, using the CMYK set of inks, began the preliminary development of such a framework. It was found that hyperspectral imaging and machine learning as a combination show significant potential as an avenue for art authentication, though further progress and research is needed to match the reliability of status quo techniques.

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Date Created
2020-05

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Mechanisms responsible for microwave properties in high performance dielectric materials

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Microwave properties of low-loss commercial dielectric materials are optimized by adding transition-metal dopants or alloying agents (i.e. Ni, Co, Mn) to tune the temperature coefficient of resonant frequency (τf) to zero. This occurs as a result of the temperature dependence

Microwave properties of low-loss commercial dielectric materials are optimized by adding transition-metal dopants or alloying agents (i.e. Ni, Co, Mn) to tune the temperature coefficient of resonant frequency (τf) to zero. This occurs as a result of the temperature dependence of dielectric constant offsetting the thermal expansion. At cryogenic temperatures, the microwave loss in these dielectric materials is dominated by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) loss, which results from the spin-excitations of d-shell electron spins in exchange-coupled clusters. We show that the origin of the observed magnetically-induced shifts in the dielectric resonator frequency originates from the same mechanism, as described by the Kramers-Kronig relations. The temperature coefficient of resonator frequency, τf, is related to three material parameters according to the equation, τf = - (½ τε + ½ τµ + αL), where τε, τµ, and αL are the temperature coefficient of dielectric constant, magnetic permeability, and lattice constant, respectively. Each of these parameters for dielectric materials of interest are measured experimentally. These results, in combination with density functional simulations, developed a much improved understanding of the fundamental mechanisms responsible for τf. The same experimental methods have been used to characterize in-situ the physical nature and concentration of performance-degrading point defects in the dielectrics of superconducting planar microwave resonators.

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Date Created
2016

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Growth and characterization of thin films of high performance microwave dielectrics

Description

Microwave dielectrics are widely used to make resonators and filters in telecommunication systems. The production of thin films with high dielectric constant and low loss could potentially enable a marked reduction in the size of devices and systems. However, studies

Microwave dielectrics are widely used to make resonators and filters in telecommunication systems. The production of thin films with high dielectric constant and low loss could potentially enable a marked reduction in the size of devices and systems. However, studies of these materials in thin film form are very sparse. In this research, experiments were carried out on practical high-performance dielectrics including ZrTiO4-ZnNb2O6 (ZTZN) and Ba(Co,Zn)1/3Nb2/3O3 (BCZN) with high dielectric constant and low loss tangent. Thin films were deposited by laser ablation on various substrates, with a systematical study of growth conditions like substrate temperature, oxygen pressure and annealing to optimize the film quality, and the compositional, microstructural, optical and electric properties were characterized. The deposited ZTZN films were randomly oriented polycrystalline on Si substrate and textured on MgO substrate with a tetragonal lattice change at elevated temperature. The BCZN films deposited on MgO substrate showed superior film quality relative to that on other substrates, which grow epitaxially with an orientation of (001) // MgO (001) and (100) // MgO (100) when substrate temperature was above 500 oC. In-situ annealing at growth temperature in 200 mTorr oxygen pressure was found to enhance the quality of the films, reducing the peak width of the X-ray Diffraction (XRD) rocking curve to 0.53o and the χmin of channeling Rutherford Backscattering Spectrometry (RBS) to 8.8% when grown at 800oC. Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) was used to study the topography and found a monotonic decrease in the surface roughness when the growth temperature increased. Optical absorption and transmission measurements were used to determine the energy bandgap and the refractive index respectively. A low-frequency dielectric constant of 34 was measured using a planar interdigital measurement structure. The resistivity of the film is ~3×1010 ohm·cm at room temperature and has an activation energy of thermal activated current of 0.66 eV.

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Date Created
2013

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Mechanisms of microwave loss tangent in high performance dielectric materials

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The mechanism of loss in high performance microwave dielectrics with complex perovskite structure, including Ba(Zn1/3Ta2/3)O3, Ba(Cd1/3Ta2/3)O3, ZrTiO4-ZnNb2O6, Ba(Zn1/3Nb2/3)O3, and BaTi4O9-BaZn2Ti4O11, has been investigated. We studied materials synthesized in our own lab and from commercial vendors. Then the measured loss tangent

The mechanism of loss in high performance microwave dielectrics with complex perovskite structure, including Ba(Zn1/3Ta2/3)O3, Ba(Cd1/3Ta2/3)O3, ZrTiO4-ZnNb2O6, Ba(Zn1/3Nb2/3)O3, and BaTi4O9-BaZn2Ti4O11, has been investigated. We studied materials synthesized in our own lab and from commercial vendors. Then the measured loss tangent was correlated to the optical, structural, and electrical properties of the material. To accurately and quantitatively determine the microwave loss and Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectra as a function of temperature and magnetic field, we developed parallel plate resonator (PPR) and dielectric resonator (DR) techniques. Our studies found a marked increase in the loss at low temperatures is found in materials containing transition metal with unpaired d-electrons as a result of resonant spin excitations in isolated atoms (light doping) or exchange coupled clusters (moderate to high doping) ; a mechanism that differs from the usual suspects. The loss tangent can be drastically reduced by applying static magnetic fields. Our measurements also show that this mechanism significantly contributes to room temperature loss, but does not dominate. In order to study the electronic structure of these materials, we grew single crystal thin film dielectrics for spectroscopic studies, including angular resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) experiment. We have synthesized stoichiometric Ba(Cd1/3Ta2/3)O3 [BCT] (100) dielectric thin films on MgO (100) substrates using Pulsed Laser Deposition. Over 99% of the BCT film was found to be epitaxial when grown with an elevated substrate temperature of 635 C, an enhanced oxygen pressures of 53 Pa and a Cd-enriched BCT target with a 1 mol BCT: 1.5 mol CdO composition. Analysis of ultra violet optical absorption results indicate that BCT has a bandgap of 4.9 eV.

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Date Created
2013

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Synthesis, structures and properties of thermoelectric materials in the Zn-Sb-In system

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The challenging search for clean, reliable and environmentally friendly energy sources has fueled increased research in thermoelectric materials, which are capable of recovering waste heat. Among the state-of-the-art thermoelectric materials β-Zn4Sb3 is outstanding because of its ultra-low glass-like thermal conductivity.

The challenging search for clean, reliable and environmentally friendly energy sources has fueled increased research in thermoelectric materials, which are capable of recovering waste heat. Among the state-of-the-art thermoelectric materials β-Zn4Sb3 is outstanding because of its ultra-low glass-like thermal conductivity. Attempts to explore ternary phases in the Zn-Sb-In system resulted in the discovery of the new intermetallic compounds, stable Zn5Sb4In2-δ (δ=0.15) and metastable Zn9Sb6In2. Millimeter-sized crystals were grown from molten metal fluxes, where indium metal was employed as a reactive flux medium.Zn5Sb4In2-δ and Zn9Sb6In2 crystallize in new structure types featuring complex framework and the presence of structural disorder (defects and split atomic positions). The structure and phase relations between ternary Zn5Sb4In2-δ, Zn9Sb6In2 and binary Zn4Sb3 are discussed. To establish and understand structure-property relationships, thermoelectric properties measurements were carried out. The measurements suggested that Zn5Sb4In2-δ and Zn9Sb6In2 are narrow band gap semiconductors, similar to β-Zn4Sb3. Also, the peculiar low thermal conductivity of Zn4Sb3 (1 W/mK) is preserved. In the investigated temperature range 10 to 350 K Zn5Sb4In2-δ displays higher thermoelectric figure of merits than Zn4Sb3, indicating a potential significance in thermoelectric applications. Finally, the glass-like thermal conductivities of binary and ternary antimonides with complex structures are compared and the mechanism behind their low thermal conductivities is briefly discussed.

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2011