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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

Synthesis and Environmental Stability of Perovskites for Photovoltaic Applications

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With renewable energy on the rise, researchers have turned their funding and their focus towards new solar cell technologies, and perovskites are a major source of interest. This class of materials is particularly interesting due to their quick, simple synthesis

With renewable energy on the rise, researchers have turned their funding and their focus towards new solar cell technologies, and perovskites are a major source of interest. This class of materials is particularly interesting due to their quick, simple synthesis as well as their physical and electrical superiority when compared to current silicon-based solar cells. Through this thesis, we will explore the synthesis of various types of perovskites and their subsequent characterization, which includes optical microscopy, photoluminescence spectroscopy, Raman microscopy, and X-ray diffraction. Analyzing two different perovskites both before and after a two-week period of storage revealed that while synthesis is indeed experiment-friendly, these materials have a concerning lack of stability even in ideal conditions.

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2020-05

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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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2020-05

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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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Raman and photoluminescence studies of in-plane anisotropic layered materials

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This thesis presents systematic studies on angle dependent Raman and Photoluminescence (PL) of a new class of layered materials, Transition Metal Trichalcogenides (TMTCs), which are made up of layers possessing anisotropic structure within the van-der-Waals plane. The crystal structure of

This thesis presents systematic studies on angle dependent Raman and Photoluminescence (PL) of a new class of layered materials, Transition Metal Trichalcogenides (TMTCs), which are made up of layers possessing anisotropic structure within the van-der-Waals plane. The crystal structure of individual layer of MX3 compounds consists of aligned nanowire like 1D chains running along the b-axis direction. The work focuses on the growth of two members of this family - ZrS3 and TiS3 - through Chemical Vapor Transport Method (CVT), with consequent angle dependent Raman and PL studies which highlight their in-plane optically anisotropic properties. Results highlight that the optical properties of few-layer flakes are highly anisotropic as evidenced by large PL intensity variation with polarization direction (in ZrS3) and an intense variation in Raman intensity with variation in polarization direction (in both ZrS3 and TiS3).

Results suggest that light is efficiently absorbed when E-field of the polarized incident excitation laser is polarized along the chain (b-axis). It is greatly attenuated and absorption is reduced when field is polarized perpendicular to the length of 1D-like chains, as wavelength of the exciting light is much longer than the width of each 1D chain. Observed PL variation with respect to the azimuthal flake angle is similar to what has been previously observed in 1D materials like nanowires. However, in TMTCs, since the 1D chains interact with each other, it gives rise to a unique linear dichroism response that falls between 2D and 1D like behavior. These results not only mark the very first demonstration of high PL polarization anisotropy in 2D systems, but also provide a novel insight into how interaction between adjacent 1D-like chains and the 2D nature of each layer influences the overall optical anisotropy of Quasi-1D materials. The presented results are anticipated to have impact in technologies involving polarized detection, near-field imaging, communication systems, and bio-applications relying on the generation and detection of polarized light.

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Date Created
2016

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Analysis of Chlorination & UV Effects on Microplastics Using Raman Spectroscopy.

Description

Microplastics are emerging to be major problem when it comes to water pollution and they pose a great threat to marine life. These materials have the potential to affect a wide range of human population since humans are the major

Microplastics are emerging to be major problem when it comes to water pollution and they pose a great threat to marine life. These materials have the potential to affect a wide range of human population since humans are the major consumers of marine organisms. Microplastics are less than 5 mm in diameter, and can escape from traditional wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) processes and end up in our water sources. Due to their small size, they have a large surface area and can react with chlorine, which it encounters in the final stages of WWTP. After the microplastics accumulate in various bodies of water, they are exposed to sunlight, which contains oxidative ultraviolet (UV) light. Since the microplastics are exposed to oxidants during and after the treatment, there is a strong chance that they will undergo chemical and/or physical changes. The WWTP conditions were replicated in the lab by varying the concentrations of chlorine from 70 to 100 mg/L in increments of 10 mg/L and incubating the samples in chlorine baths for 1–9 days. The chlorinated samples were tested for any structural changes using Raman spectroscopy. High density polyethylene (HDPE), polystyrene (PS), and polypropylene (PP) were treated in chlorine baths and observed for Raman intensity variations, Raman peak shifts, and the formation of new peaks over different exposure times. HDPE responded with a lot of oxidation peaks and shifts of peaks after just one day. For the degradation of semi-crystalline polymers, there was a reduction in crystallinity, as verified by thermal analysis. There was a decrease in the enthalpy of melting as well as the melting temperature with an increase in the exposure time or chlorine concentration, which pointed at the degradation of plastics and bond cleavages. To test the plastic response to

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UV, the samples were exposed to sunlight for up to 210 days and analyzed under Raman spectroscopy. Overall the physical and chemical changes with the polymers are evident and makes a way for the wastewater treatment plant to take necessary steps to capture the microplastics to avoid the release of any kind of degraded microplastics that could affect marine life and the environment.

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Date Created
2017

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Multiphase Liquid Metal Composites for Soft Thermal Applications

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Soft thermal interface materials (TIMs) are critical for improving the thermal management of advanced microelectronic devices. Despite containing high thermal conductivity filler materials, TIM performance is limited by thermal resistances between fillers, filler-matrix, and external contact resistance. Recently, room-temperature liquid

Soft thermal interface materials (TIMs) are critical for improving the thermal management of advanced microelectronic devices. Despite containing high thermal conductivity filler materials, TIM performance is limited by thermal resistances between fillers, filler-matrix, and external contact resistance. Recently, room-temperature liquid metals (LMs) started to be adapted as an alternative TIM for their low thermal resistance and fluidic nature. However, LM-based TIMs face challenges due to their low viscosity, non-wetting qualities, chemical reactivity, and corrosiveness towards aluminum.To address these concerns, this dissertation research investigates fundamental LM properties and assesses their utility for developing multiphase LM composites with strong thermal properties. Augmentation of LM with gallium oxide and air capsules lead to LM-base foams with improved spreading and patterning. Gallium oxides are responsible for stabilizing LM foam structures which is observed through electron microscopy, revealing a temporal evolution of air voids after shear mixing in air. The presence of air bubbles and oxide fragments in LM decreases thermal conductivity while increasing its viscosity as the shear mixing time is prolonged. An overall mechanism for foam generation in LM is presented in two stages: 1) oxide fragment accumulation and 2) air bubble entrapment and propagation. To avoid the low thermal conductivity air content, mixing of non-reactive particles of tungsten or silicon carbide (SiC) into LM forms paste-like LM-based mixtures that exhibit tunable high thermal conductivity 2-3 times beyond the matrix material. These filler materials remain chemically stable and do not react with LM over time while suspended. Gallium oxide-mediated wetting mechanisms for these non-wetting fillers are elucidated in oxygen rich and deficient environments.
Three-phase composites consisting of LM and Ag-coated SiC fillers dispersed in a noncuring silicone oil matrix address LM-corrosion related issues. Ag-coated SiC particles enable improved wetting of the LM, and the results show that applied pressure is necessary for bridging of these LM-coated particles to improve filler thermal resistance. Compositional tuning between the fillers leads to thermal improvements in this multiphase composite. The results of this dissertation work aim to advance our current understanding of LMs and how to design LM-based composite materials for improved TIMs and other soft thermal applications.

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Date Created
2021

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Carbon nanomaterials for energy storage, actuators and environmental applications

Description

Carbon nanomaterials have caught tremendous attention in the last few decades due to their unique physical and chemical properties. Tremendous effort has been made to develop new synthesis techniques for carbon nanomaterials and investigate their properties for different applications. In

Carbon nanomaterials have caught tremendous attention in the last few decades due to their unique physical and chemical properties. Tremendous effort has been made to develop new synthesis techniques for carbon nanomaterials and investigate their properties for different applications. In this work, carbon nanospheres (CNSs), carbon foams (CF), and single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) were studied for various applications, including water treatment, energy storage, actuators, and sensors.

A facile spray pyrolysis synthesis technique was developed to synthesize individual CNSs with specific surface area (SSA) up to 1106 m2/g. The hollow CNSs showed adsorption of up to 300 mg rhodamine B dye per gram carbon, which is more than 15 times higher than that observed for conventional carbon black. They were also evaluated as adsorbents for removal of arsenate and selenate from water and displayed good binding to both species, outperforming commercial activated carbons for arsenate removal in pH > 8. When evaluated as supercapacitor electrode materials, specific capacitances of up to 112 F/g at a current density of 0.1 A/g were observed. When used as Li-ion battery anode materials, the CNSs achieved a discharge capacity of 270 mAh/g at a current density of 372 mA/g (1C), which is 4-fold higher than that of commercial graphite anode.

Carbon foams were synthesized using direct pyrolysis and had SSA up to 2340 m2/g. When used as supercapacitor electrode materials, a specific capacitance up to 280 F/g was achieved at current density of 0.1 A/g and remained as high as 207 F/g, even at a high current density of 10 A/g.

A printed walking robot was made from common plastic films and coatings of SWNTs. The solid-state thermal bimorph actuators were multifunctional energy transducers powered by heat, light, or electricity. The actuators were also investigated for photo/thermal detection. Electrochemical actuators based on MnO2 were also studied for potential underwater applications.

SWNTs were also used to fabricate printable electrodes for trace Cr(VI) detection, which displayed sensitivity up to 500 nA/ppb for Cr(VI). The limit of detection was shown to be as low as 5 ppb. A flow detection system based on CNT/printed electrodes was also demonstrated.

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Date Created
2015

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Fundamental toxicology studies of 2D transition metal dichalcogenides

Description

Two-dimensional quantum materials have garnered increasing interest in a wide

variety of applications due to their promising optical and electronic properties. These

quantum materials are highly anticipated to make transformative quantum sensors and

biosensors. Biosensors are currently considered among one of the most

Two-dimensional quantum materials have garnered increasing interest in a wide

variety of applications due to their promising optical and electronic properties. These

quantum materials are highly anticipated to make transformative quantum sensors and

biosensors. Biosensors are currently considered among one of the most promising

solutions to a wide variety of biomedical and environmental problems including highly

sensitive and selective detection of difficult pathogens, toxins, and biomolecules.

However, scientists face enormous challenges in achieving these goals with current

technologies. Quantum biosensors can have detection with extraordinary sensitivity and

selectivity through manipulation of their quantum states, offering extraordinary properties

that cannot be attained with traditional materials. These quantum materials are anticipated

to make significant impact in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of many diseases.

Despite the exciting promise of these cutting-edge technologies, it is largely

unknown what the inherent toxicity and biocompatibility of two-dimensional (2D)

materials are. Studies are greatly needed to lay the foundation for understanding the

interactions between quantum materials and biosystems. This work introduces a new

method to continuously monitor the cell proliferation and toxicity behavior of 2D

materials. The cell viability and toxicity measurements coupled with Live/Dead

fluorescence imaging suggest the biocompatibility of crystalline MoS2 and MoSSe

monolayers and the significantly-reduced cellular growth of defected MoTe2 thin films

and exfoliated MoS2 nanosheets. Results show the exciting potential of incorporating

kinetic cell viability data of 2D materials with other assay tools to further fundamental

understanding of 2D material biocompatibility.

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Date Created
2019

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Interaction of Charge Carriers with Defects at Interfaces and Grain Boundaries in Compound Semiconductors

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Realization of efficient, high-bandgap photovoltaic cells produced using economically viable methods is a technological advance that could change the way we generate and use energy, and thereby accelerate the development of human civilization. There is a need to engineer a

Realization of efficient, high-bandgap photovoltaic cells produced using economically viable methods is a technological advance that could change the way we generate and use energy, and thereby accelerate the development of human civilization. There is a need to engineer a semiconductor material for solar cells, particularly multijunction cells, that has high (1.6-2.0 eV) bandgap, has relatively inactive defects, is thermodynamically stable under normal operating conditions with the potential for cost-effective thin-film growth in mass production.This work focuses on a material system made of gallium, indium, and phosphorus – the ternary semiconductor GaInP. GaInP based photovoltaic cells in single-crystal form have demonstrated excellent power conversion efficiency, however, growth of single-crystal GaInP is prohibitively expensive. While growth of polycrystalline GaInP is expected to lower production costs, polycrystalline GaInP is also expected to have a high density of electronically active defects, about which little is reported in scientific literature. This work presents the first study of synthesis, and structural and optoelectronic characterization of polycrystalline GaInP thin films.
In addition, this work models the best performance of polycrystalline solar cells achievable with a given grain size with grain-boundary/surface recombination velocity as a variable parameter. The effects of defect characteristics at the surface and layer properties such as doping and thickness on interface recombination velocity are also modeled.
Recombination velocities at the free surface of single-crystal GaInP and after deposition of various dielectric layers on GaInP are determined experimentally using time-resolved photoluminescence decay measurements. In addition, experimental values of bulk lifetime and surface recombination velocity in well-passivated single crystal AlInP-GaInP based double heterostructures are also measured for comparison to polycrystalline material systems.
A novel passivation method – aluminum-assisted post-deposition treatment or Al-PDT – was developed which shows promise as a general passivation and material improvement technique for polycrystalline thin films. In the GaInP system, this aluminum post-deposition treatment has demonstrated improvement in the minority carrier lifetime to 44 ns at 80 K. During development of the passivation process, aluminum diffusivity in GaInP was measured using TEM-EDS line scans. Introduction, development, and refinement of this novel passivation mechanism in polycrystalline GaInP could initiate the development of a new family of passivation treatments, potentially improving the optoelectronic response of other polycrystalline compound semiconductors as well.

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Date Created
2021