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Simulation of Atomic Structure around Defects in Anatase

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Titanium dioxide is an essential material under research for energy and environmental applications, chiefly through its photocatalytic properties. These properties allow it to be used for water-splitting, detoxification, and photovoltaics, in addition to its conventional uses in pigmentation and

Titanium dioxide is an essential material under research for energy and environmental applications, chiefly through its photocatalytic properties. These properties allow it to be used for water-splitting, detoxification, and photovoltaics, in addition to its conventional uses in pigmentation and sunscreen. Titanium dioxide exists in several polymorphic structures, of which the most common are rutile and anatase. We focused on anatase for the purposes of this research, due to its promising results for hydrolysis.

Anatase exists often in its reduced form (TiO2-x), enabling it to perform redox reactions through the absorption and release of oxygen into/from the crystal lattice. These processes result in structural changes, induced by defects in the material, which can theoretically be observed using advanced characterization methods. In situ electron microscopy is one of such methods, and can provide a window into these structural changes. However, in order to interpret the structural evolution caused by defects in materials, it is often necessary and pertinent to use atomistic simulations to compare the experimental images with models.

In this thesis project, we modeled the defect structures in anatase, around oxygen vacancies and at surfaces, using molecular dynamics, benchmarked with density functional theory. Using a “reactive” forcefield designed for the simulation of interactions between anatase and water that can model and treat bonding through the use of bond orders, different vacancy structures were analyzed and simulated. To compare these theoretical, generated models with experimental data, the “multislice approach” to TEM image simulation was used. We investigated a series of different vacancy configurations and surfaces and generated fingerprints for comparison with TEM experiments. This comparison demonstrated a proof of concept for a technique suggesting the possibility for the identification of oxygen vacancy structures directly from TEM images. This research aims to improve our atomic-level understanding of oxide materials, by providing a methodology for the analysis of vacancy formation from very subtle phenomena in TEM images.

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2019-05

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2D or Not To Be: The Story and Science of Graphene

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The story of graphene truly began in what was simply a stub in the journal Physical Review not two years after the end of World War II. In 1947, McGill University physicist P.R. Wallace authored “The Band Theory of Graphite”

The story of graphene truly began in what was simply a stub in the journal Physical Review not two years after the end of World War II. In 1947, McGill University physicist P.R. Wallace authored “The Band Theory of Graphite” and attempted to develop a foundation on which the structure-property relationship of graphite could be explored; he calculates the number of free electrons and conductivity of what he describes as “a single hexagonal layer” and “suppos[es] that conduction takes place only in layers” in bulk graphite to predict wave functions, energies at specific atomic sites in the hexagonal lattice, and energy contours using a tight binding approximation for a hypothesized version of what we now call ‘armchair-style’ graphene. While Wallace was the first to explore the band structure and Brillouin Zones of single-layer graphite, the concept of two-dimensional materials was not new. In fact, for years, it was dismissed as a thermodynamic impossibility.

Everything seemed poised against any proposed physical and experimental stability of a structure like graphene. “Thermodynamically impossible”– a not uncommon shutdown to proposed novel physical or chemical concepts– was once used to describe the entire field of proposed two-dimensional crystals functioning separately from a three-dimensional base or crystalline structure. Rudolf Peierls and Lev Davoidovich Landau, both very accomplished physicists respectively known for the Manhattan Project and for developing a mathematical theory of helium superfluidity, rejected the possibility of isolated monolayer to few-layered crystal lattices. Their reasoning was that diverging thermodynamic-based crystal lattice fluctuations would render the material unstable regardless of controlled temperature. This logic is flawed, but not necessarily inaccurate– diamond, for instance, is thermodynamically metastable at room temperature and pressure in that there exists a slow (i.e. slow on the scale of millions of years) but continuous transformation to graphite. However, this logic was used to support an explanation of thermodynamic impossibility that was provided for graphene’s lack of isolation as late as 1979 by Cornell solid-state physicist Nathaniel David Mermin. These physicists’ claims had clear and consistent grounding in experimental data: as thin films become thinner, there exists a trend of a decreasing melting temperature and increasing instability that renders the films into islands at somewhere around ten to twenty atomic layers. This is driven by the thermodynamically-favorable minimization of surface energy.

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2018-05

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Environmental Impact of Graphene's Adoption into Everyday Life

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Graphene has the ability to advance many common fields, including: membranes, composites and coatings, energy, and electronics. For membranes, graphene will be used as a filter for desalination plants which will reduce the cost of desalination and greatly increase water

Graphene has the ability to advance many common fields, including: membranes, composites and coatings, energy, and electronics. For membranes, graphene will be used as a filter for desalination plants which will reduce the cost of desalination and greatly increase water security in developing countries. For composites and coatings, graphene's strength, flexibility, and lightweight will be instrumental in producing the next generation of athletic wear and sports equipment. Graphene's use in energy comes from its theorized ability to charge a phone battery in seconds or an electric car in minutes. Finally, for electronics, graphene will be used to create faster transistors, flexible electronics, and fully integrated wearable technology.

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2018-05

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An Effective Characterization Methodology for Sub-micron Copper Oxides and Oxide-preventing Surface Finishes with a Short Essay on the Role of SEM in the Continuing Miniaturization of Integrated Circuits

Description

The transition to lead-free solder in the electronics industry has benefited the environment in many ways. However, with new materials systems comes new materials issues. During the processing of copper pads, a protective surface treatment is needed to prevent the

The transition to lead-free solder in the electronics industry has benefited the environment in many ways. However, with new materials systems comes new materials issues. During the processing of copper pads, a protective surface treatment is needed to prevent the copper from oxidizing. Characterizing the copper oxidation underneath the surface treatment is challenging but necessary for product reliability and failure analysis. Currently, FIB-SEM, which is time-consuming and expensive, is what is used to understand and analyze the surface treatment-copper oxide(s)-copper system. This project's goals were to determine a characterization methodology that cuts both characterization time and cost in half for characterizing copper oxidation beneath a surface treatment and to determine which protective surface treatment is the best as defined by multiple criterion such as cost, sustainability, and reliability. Two protective surface treatments, organic solderability preservative (OSP) and chromium zincate, were investigated, and multiple characterization techniques were researched. Six techniques were tested, and three were deemed promising. Through our studies, it was determined that the best surface treatment was organic solderability preservative (OSP) and the ideal characterization methodology would be using FIB-SEM to calibrate a QCM model, along with using SERA to confirm the QCM model results. The methodology we propose would result in a 91% reduction in characterization cost and a 92% reduction in characterization time. Future work includes further calibration of the QCM model using more FIB/SEM data points and eventually creating a model for oxide layer thickness as a function of exposure time and processing temperature using QCM as the primary data source. An additional short essay on the role of SEM on the continuing miniaturization of integrated circuits is included at the end. This paper explores the intertwined histories of the scanning electron microscope and the integrated circuit, highlighting how advances in SEM influence integrated circuit advances.

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2015-05

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Ultra-Low-Noise Cryogenic Dipping Probe for JMRAM Applications

Description

The vastly growing field of supercomputing is in dire need of a new measurement system to optimize JMRAM (Josephson junction magnetoresistive random access memory) devices. To effectively measure these devices, an ultra-low-noise, low cost cryogenic dipping probe with a dynamic

The vastly growing field of supercomputing is in dire need of a new measurement system to optimize JMRAM (Josephson junction magnetoresistive random access memory) devices. To effectively measure these devices, an ultra-low-noise, low cost cryogenic dipping probe with a dynamic voltage range is required. This dipping probe has been designed by ASU with <100 nVp-p noise, <10 nV offsets, 10 pV to 16 mV voltage range, and negligible thermoelectric drift. There is currently no other research group or company that can currently match both these low noise levels and wide voltage range. Two different dipping probes can be created with these specifications: one for high-use applications and one for low-use applications. The only difference between these probes is the outer shell; the high-use application probe has a shell made of G-10 fiberglass for a higher price, and the low-use application probe has a shell made of AISI 310 steel for a lower price. Both types of probes can be assembled in less than 8 hours for less than $2,500, requiring only soldering expertise. The low cost and short time to create these probes makes wide profit margins possible. The market for these cryogenic dipping probes is currently untapped, as most research groups and companies that use these probes build their own, which allows for rapid business growth. These potential consumers can be easily reached by marketing these probes at superconducting conferences. After several years of selling >50 probes, mass production can easily become possible by hiring several technicians, and still maintaining wide profit margins.

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Date Created
2016-05

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Effects of Aging and Crystallization Time and Temperature in the Synthesis of Ideal Zeolite Linde Type A

Description

One of the grand challenges of engineering is to provide access to clean water because it is predicted that by 2025 more than two thirds of the world’s population will face severe water shortages. To combat this global issue,

One of the grand challenges of engineering is to provide access to clean water because it is predicted that by 2025 more than two thirds of the world’s population will face severe water shortages. To combat this global issue, our lab focuses on creating a novel composite membrane to recover potable water from waste. For use as the water-selective component in this membrane design Linde Type A zeolites were synthesized for optimal size without the use of a template. Current template-free synthesis of zeolite LTA produces particles that are too large for our application therefore the particle size was reduced in this study to reduce fouling of the membrane while also investigating the nanoparticle synthesis mechanisms. The time and temperature of the reaction and the aging of the precursor gel were systematically modified and observed to determine the optimal conditions for producing the particles. Scanning electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction, and energy dispersive x-ray analysis were used for characterization. Sub-micron sized particles were synthesized at 2 weeks aging time at -8°C with an average size of 0.6 micrometers, a size suitable for our membrane. There is a limit to the posterity and uniformity of particles produced from modifying the reaction time and temperature. All results follow general crystallization theory. Longer aging produced smaller particles, consistent with nucleation theory. Spinodal decomposition is predicted to affect nucleation clustering during aging due to the temperature scheme. Efforts will be made to shorten the effective aging time and these particles will eventually be incorporated into our mixed matrix osmosis membrane.

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2016-05

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Breakdown and classification of skill transfer type between a hockey slap shot and golf drive

Description

There is surprisingly little scientific literature describing whether a hockey slap shot positively or negatively transfers to a driving golf swing. Golf and hockey use a similar kinematic sequence to send the ball / puck towards a target, but does

There is surprisingly little scientific literature describing whether a hockey slap shot positively or negatively transfers to a driving golf swing. Golf and hockey use a similar kinematic sequence to send the ball / puck towards a target, but does that directly translate to positive skill transfer between the two sports, or are there other important factors that could result in a negative skill transfer? The aim of this study is to look further into the two kinematic sequences and determine their intertask skill transfer type. A field experiment was conducted, following a specific research design, in order to compare performance between two groups, one being familiar with the skill that may transfer (hockey slapshot) and the other group being unfamiliar. Both groups had no experience in the skill being tested (driving golf swing) and various data was collected as all of the subjects performed 10 golf swings. The results of the data analysis showed that the group with experience in hockey had a higher variability of ball distance and ball speed. There are many factors of a hockey slapshot that are likely to develop a negative intertask skill transfer, resulting in this group's high inconsistency when performing a golf swing. On the other hand, the group with hockey experience also had higher mean club speed, showing that some aspects of the hockey slapshot resulted in a positive skill transfer, aiding their ability to perform a golf swing.

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2021-05

Synthesis and Environmental Stability of Perovskites for Photovoltaic Applications

Description

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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Date Created
2020-05

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

Description

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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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