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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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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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2012

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Development of a Measurement System for Thin Film Electrical Properties

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With the world's ever growing need for sustainable energy solutions, the field of thermoelectrics has seen rejuvenated interest. Specifically, modern advances in nanoscale technology have resulted in predictions that thermoelectric devices will soon become a viable waste heat recovery energy

With the world's ever growing need for sustainable energy solutions, the field of thermoelectrics has seen rejuvenated interest. Specifically, modern advances in nanoscale technology have resulted in predictions that thermoelectric devices will soon become a viable waste heat recovery energy source, among other things. In order to achieve these predictions, however, key structure-property relationships must first be understood. Currently, the Thermal Energy and Nanomaterials Lab at Arizona State University is attempting to solve this problem. This project intends to aid the groups big picture goal by developing a robust and user friendly measurement platform which is capable of reporting charge carrier mobility, electrical conductivity, and Seebeck coefficient values. To date, the charge carrier mobility and electrical conductivity measurements have been successfully implemented and validated. First round analysis has been performed on β-In2Se3 thin film samples. Future work will feature a more comprehensive analysis of this material.

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2014-05

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Printed passive microfluidic devices using TEOS reactive inks

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This paper details ink chemistries and processes to fabricate passive microfluidic devices using drop-on-demand printing of tetraethyl-orthosilicate (TEOS) inks. Parameters space investigation of the relationship between printed morphology and ink chemistries and printing parameters was conducted to demonstrate that

This paper details ink chemistries and processes to fabricate passive microfluidic devices using drop-on-demand printing of tetraethyl-orthosilicate (TEOS) inks. Parameters space investigation of the relationship between printed morphology and ink chemistries and printing parameters was conducted to demonstrate that morphology can be controlled by adjusting solvents selection, TEOS concentration, substrate temperature, and hydrolysis time. Optical microscope and scanning electron microscope images were gathered to observe printed morphology and optical videos were taken to quantify the impact of morphology on fluid flow rates. The microscopy images show that by controlling the hydrolysis time of TEOS, dilution solvents and the printing temperature, dense or fracture structure can be obtained. Fracture structures are used as passive fluidic device due to strong capillary action in cracks. At last, flow rate of passive fluidic devices with different thickness printed at different temperatures are measured and compared. The result shows the flow rate increases with the increase of device width and thickness. By controlling the morphology and dimensions of printed structure, passive microfluidic devices with designed flow rate and low fluorescence background are able to be printed.

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2016

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Solution-phase synthesis and properties of thin films and nanocomposites for thermoelectricity

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The use of nanoparticle-in-matrix composites is a common motif among a broad range of nanoscience applications and is of particular interest to the thermal sciences community. To explore this morphological theme, crystalline inorganic composites were synthesized by mixing colloidal CdSe

The use of nanoparticle-in-matrix composites is a common motif among a broad range of nanoscience applications and is of particular interest to the thermal sciences community. To explore this morphological theme, crystalline inorganic composites were synthesized by mixing colloidal CdSe nanocrystals and In2Se3 metal chalcogenide complex (MCC) precursor in hydrazine solvent and then thermally transform the MCC precursor into a crystalline In2Se3 matrix. The volume fraction of CdSe nanocrystals was varied from 0 to ~100% .Rich structural and chemical interactions between the CdSe nanocrystals and the In2Se3 matrix were observed. The average thermal conductivities of the 100% In2Se3 and ~100% CdSe composites are 0.32 and 0.53 W/m-K, respectively, which are remarkably low for inorganic crystalline materials. With the exception of the ~100% CdSe samples, the thermal conductivities of these nanocomposites are insensitive to CdSe volume fraction.This insensitivity is attributed to competing effects rise from structural morphology changes during composite formation.

Next, thermoelectric properties of metal chalcogenide thin films deposited from precursors using thiol-amine solvent mixtures were first reported. Cu2-xSeyS1-y and Ag-doped Cu2-xSeyS1-y thin films were synthesized, and the interrelationship between structure, composition, and room temperature thermoelectric properties was studied. The precursor annealing temperature affects the metal:chalcogen ratio, and leads to charge carrier concentration changes that affect Seebeck coefficient and electrical conductivity. Incorporating Ag into the Cu2-xSeyS1-y film leads to appreciable improvements in thermoelectric performance. Overall, the room temperature thermoelectric properties of these solution-processed materials are comparable to measurements on Cu2-xSe alloys made via conventional thermoelectric material processing methods.

Finally, a new route to make soluble metal chalcogenide precursors by reacting organic dichalcogenides with metal in different solvents was reported. By this method, SnSe, PbSe, SnTe and PbSexTe1-x precursors were successfully synthesized, and phase-pure and impurity-free metal chalcogenides were recovered after precursor decomposition. Compared to the hydrazine and diamine-dithiol route, the new approach uses safe solvent, and avoids introducing unwanted sulfur into the precursor. SnSe and PbSexTe1-x thin films, both of which are interesting thermoelectric materials, were also successfully made by solution deposition. The thermoelectric property measurements on those thin films show a great potential for future improvements.

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Date Created
2016

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Fundamentals of Soft, Stretchable Heat Exchanger Design

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Deformable heat exchangers could provide a multitude of previously untapped advantages ranging from adaptable performance via macroscale, dynamic shape change (akin to dilation/constriction seen in blood vessels) to enhanced heat transfer at thermal interfaces through microscale, surface deformations. So far,

Deformable heat exchangers could provide a multitude of previously untapped advantages ranging from adaptable performance via macroscale, dynamic shape change (akin to dilation/constriction seen in blood vessels) to enhanced heat transfer at thermal interfaces through microscale, surface deformations. So far, making deformable, ‘soft heat exchangers’ (SHXs) has been limited by the low thermal conductivity of materials with suitable mechanical properties. The recent introduction of liquid-metal embedded elastomers by Bartlett et al1 has addressed this need. Specifically, by remaining soft and stretchable despite the addition of filler, these thermally conductive composites provide an ideal material for the new class of “soft thermal systems”, which is introduced in this work. Understanding such thermal systems will be a key element in enabling technology that require high levels of stretchability, such as thermoregulatory garments, soft electronics, wearable electronics, and high-powered robotics. Shape change inherent to SHX operation has the potential to violate many conventional assumptions used in HX design and thus requires the development of new theoretical approaches to predict performance. To create a basis for understanding these devices, this work highlights two sequential studies. First, the effects of transitioning to a surface deformable, SHX under steady state static conditions in the setting of a liquid cooling device for thermoregulation, electronics and robotics applications was explored. In this study, a thermomechanical model was built and validated to predict the thermal performance and a system wide analysis to optimize such devices was carried out. Second, from a more fundamental perspective, the effects of SHXs undergoing transient shape deformation during operation was explored. A phase shift phenomenon in cooling performance dependent on stretch rate, stretch extent and thermal diffusivity was discovered and explained. With the use of a time scale analysis, the extent of quasi-static assumption viability in modeling such systems was quantified and multiple shape modulation regime limits were defined. Finally, nuance considerations and future work of using liquid metal-silicone composites in SHXs were discussed.

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2020

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Towards High Spatial Resolution Vibrational Spectroscopy in a Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope

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Vibrational spectroscopy is a ubiquitous characterization tool in elucidating atomic structure at the bulk and nanoscale. The ability to perform high spatial resolution vibrational spectroscopy in a scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) with electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) has the potential

Vibrational spectroscopy is a ubiquitous characterization tool in elucidating atomic structure at the bulk and nanoscale. The ability to perform high spatial resolution vibrational spectroscopy in a scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) with electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) has the potential to affect a variety of materials science problems. Since 2014, instrumentation development has pushed for incremental improvements in energy resolution, with the current best being 4.2 meV. Although this is poor in comparison to what is common in photon or neutron vibrational spectroscopies, the spatial resolution offered by vibrational EELS is equal to or better than the best of these other techniques.

The major objective of this research program is to investigate the spatial resolution of the monochromated energy-loss signal in the transmission-beam mode and correlate it to the excitation mechanism of the associated vibrational mode. The spatial variation of dipole vibrational signals in SiO2 is investigated as the electron probe is scanned across an atomically abrupt SiO2/Si interface. The Si-O bond stretch signal has a spatial resolution of 2 – 20 nm, depending on whether the interface, bulk, or surface contribution is chosen. For typical TEM specimen thicknesses, coupled surface modes contribute strongly to the spectrum. These coupled surface modes are phonon polaritons, whose intensity and spectral positions are strongly specimen geometry dependent. In a SiO2 thin-film patterned with a 2x2 array, dielectric theory simulations predict the simultaneous excitation of parallel and uncoupled surface polaritons and a very weak excitation of the orthogonal polariton.

It is demonstrated that atomic resolution can be achieved with impact vibrational signals from optical and acoustic phonons in a covalently bonded material like Si. Sub-nanometer resolution mapping of the Si-O symmetric bond stretch impact signal can also be performed in an ionic material like SiO2. The visibility of impact energy-loss signals from excitation of Brillouin zone boundary vibrational modes in hexagonal BN is seen to be a strong function of probe convergence, but not as strong a function of spectrometer collection angles. Some preliminary measurements to detect adsorbates on catalyst nanoparticle surfaces with minimum radiation damage in the aloof-beam mode are also presented.

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2020

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Forward Osmosis Desalination Using Thermoresponsive Hydrogels as Draw Agents; An Experimental Study

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Hydrogel polymers have been the subject of many studies, due to their fascinating ability to alternate between being hydrophilic and hydrophobic, upon the application of appropriate stimuli. In particular, thermo-responsive hydrogels such as N-Isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM), which possess a unique lower

Hydrogel polymers have been the subject of many studies, due to their fascinating ability to alternate between being hydrophilic and hydrophobic, upon the application of appropriate stimuli. In particular, thermo-responsive hydrogels such as N-Isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM), which possess a unique lower critical solution temperature (LCST) of 32°C, have been leveraged for membrane-based processes such as using NIPAM as a draw agent for forward osmosis (FO) desalination. The low LCST temperature of NIPAM ensures that fresh water can be recovered, at a modest energy cost as compared to other thermally based desalination processes which require water recovery at higher temperatures. This work studies by experimentation, key process parameters involved in desalination by FO using NIPAM and a copolymer of NIPAM and Sodium Acrylate (NIPAM-SA). It encompasses synthesis of the hydrogels, development of experiments to effectively characterize synthesized products, and the measuring of FO performance for the individual hydrogels. FO performance was measured using single layers of NIPAM and NIPAM-SA respectively. The values of permeation flux obtained were compared to relevant published literature and it was found to be within reasonable range. Furthermore, a conceptual design for future large-scale implementation of this technology is proposed. It is proposed that perhaps more effort should focus on physical processes that have the ability to increase the low permeation flux of hydrogel driven FO desalination systems, rather than development of novel classes of hydrogels

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2019