Matching Items (19)

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Simulation of Atomic Structure around Defects in Anatase

Description

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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In-situ environmental TEM studies for developing structure-activity relationship in supported metal catalyst

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In-situ environmental transmission electron microscopy (ETEM) is a powerful tool for following the evolution of supported metal nanoparticles under different reacting gas conditions at elevated temperatures. The ability to observe the events in real time under reacting gas conditions can

In-situ environmental transmission electron microscopy (ETEM) is a powerful tool for following the evolution of supported metal nanoparticles under different reacting gas conditions at elevated temperatures. The ability to observe the events in real time under reacting gas conditions can provide significant information on the fundamental processes taking place in catalytic materials, from which the performance of the catalyst can be understood. The first part of this dissertation presents the application of in-situ ETEM studies in developing structure-activity relationship in supported metal nanoparticles. In-situ ETEM studies on nanostructures in parallel with ex-situ reactor studies of conversions and selectivities were performed for partial oxidation of methane (POM) to syngas (CO+H2) on Ni/SiO2, Ru/SiO2 and NiRu/SiO2 catalysts. During POM, the gas composition varies along the catalyst bed with increasing temperature. It is important to consider these variations in gas composition in order to design experiments for in-situ ETEM. In-situ ETEM experiments were performed under three different reacting gas conditions. First in the presence of H2, this represents the state of the fresh catalyst for the catalytic reaction. Later in the presence of CH4 and O2 in 2:1 ratio, this is the composition of the reacting gases for the POM reaction and this composition acts as an oxidizing environment. Finally in the presence of CH4, this is the reducing gas. Oxidation and reduction behavior of Ni, Ru and NiRu nanoparticles were followed in an in-situ ETEM under reacting gas conditions and the observations were correlated with the performance of the catalyst for POM. The later part of the dissertation presents a technique for determining the gas compositional analysis inside the in-situ ETEM using electron energy-loss spectroscopy. Techniques were developed to identify the gas composition using both inner-shell and low-loss spectroscopy of EELS. Using EELS, an "operando TEM" technique was successfully developed for detecting the gas phase catalysis inside the ETEM. Overall this research demonstrates the importance of in-situ ETEM studies in understanding the structure-activity relationship in supported-metal catalysts for heterogeneous catalysis application.

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2011

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Oxygen nanodistributions in cobalt-iron electrodeposited thin films: some effect on magnetic properties, high resolution analytical electron microscopy

Description

Soft magnetic alloys play a significant role for magnetic recording applications and highly sensitivity magnetic field sensors. In order to sustain the magnetic areal density growth, development of new synthesis techniques and materials is necessary. In this work, the effect

Soft magnetic alloys play a significant role for magnetic recording applications and highly sensitivity magnetic field sensors. In order to sustain the magnetic areal density growth, development of new synthesis techniques and materials is necessary. In this work, the effect of oxygen incorporation during electrodeposition of CoFe alloys on magnetic properties, magnetoresistance and structural properties has been studied. Understanding the magnetic properties often required knowledge of oxygen distribution and structural properties of the grown films. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was a powerful tool in this study to correlate the oxygen-distribution nanostructure to the magnetic properties of deposited films. Off-axis electron holography in TEM was used to measure magnetic domain wall width in the deposited films. Elemental depth profiles of Fe, Co, O were investigated by secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS). Magnetic properties have been determined by superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) measurements. Oxygen content in the CoFe deposited films was controlled by electrolyte composition. Films were deposited on Si 100 substrates and on other substrates such as Cu and Al. However, a good film quality was achieved on Si substrate. Electron energy loss and x-ray spectroscopies showed that the low oxygen films contained intragranular Fe2+ oxide (FeO) particles and that the high oxygen films contained intergranular Fe3+ (Fe2O3) along grain boundaries. The films with oxide present at the grain boundary had significantly increased coercivity, magnetoresistance and reduced saturation magnetization relative to the lower oxygen content films with intragranular oxide. The differences in magnetic properties between low oxygen and high oxygen concentration films were attributed to stronger mobile domain wall interactions with the grain boundary oxide layers. The very high magnetoresistance values were achieved for magnetic devices with nanocontact dimension < 100 nm and oxide incorporation in this nanoconfined geometry. The content of oxide phase in nanocontact was controlled by concentration of the Fe3+ ions in the electrodeposition solution. Magnetic device integrity was improved by varying amount of additive into plating solution. These results indicated that electrodeposited CoFe nanocontact is a novel class of materials with large application for magnetic field sensors.

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2012

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Quantitative phase imaging of magnetic nanostructures using off-axis electron holography

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The research of this dissertation has involved the nanoscale quantitative characterization of patterned magnetic nanostructures and devices using off-axis electron holography and Lorentz microscopy. The investigation focused on different materials of interest, including monolayer Co nanorings, multilayer Co/Cu/Py (Permalloy, Ni81Fe19)

The research of this dissertation has involved the nanoscale quantitative characterization of patterned magnetic nanostructures and devices using off-axis electron holography and Lorentz microscopy. The investigation focused on different materials of interest, including monolayer Co nanorings, multilayer Co/Cu/Py (Permalloy, Ni81Fe19) spin-valve nanorings, and notched Py nanowires, which were fabricated via a standard electron-beam lithography (EBL) and lift-off process. Magnetization configurations and reversal processes of Co nanorings, with and without slots, were observed. Vortex-controlled switching behavior with stepped hysteresis loops was identified, with clearly defined onion states, vortex states, flux-closure (FC) states, and Omega states. Two distinct switching mechanisms for the slotted nanorings, depending on applied field directions relative to the slot orientations, were attributed to the vortex chirality and shape anisotropy. Micromagnetic simulations were in good agreement with electron holography observations of the Co nanorings, also confirming the switching field of 700-800 Oe. Co/Cu/Py spin-valve slotted nanorings exhibited different remanent states and switching behavior as a function of the different directions of the applied field relative to the slots. At remanent state, the magnetizations of Co and Py layers were preferentially aligned in antiparallel coupled configuration, with predominant configurations in FC or onion states. Two-step and three-step hysteresis loops were quantitatively determined for nanorings with slots perpendicular, or parallel to the applied field direction, respectively, due to the intrinsic coercivity difference and interlayer magnetic coupling between Co and Py layers. The field to reverse both layers was on the order of ~800 Oe. Domain-wall (DW) motion within Py nanowires (NWs) driven by an in situ magnetic field was visualized and quantified. Different aspects of DW behavior, including nucleation, injection, pinning, depinning, relaxation, and annihilation, occurred depending on applied field strength. A unique asymmetrical DW pinning behavior was recognized, depending on DW chirality relative to the sense of rotation around the notch. The transverse DWs relaxed into vortex DWs, followed by annihilation in a reversed field, which was in agreement with micromagnetic simulations. Overall, the success of these studies demonstrated the capability of off-axis electron holography to provide valuable insights for understanding magnetic behavior on the nanoscale.

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2010

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TEM Image Simulations of Structural Dynamics on CeO2-supported Pt Catalysts

Description

Supported catalytic nanoparticles undergo rapid structural transformations faster than many transmission electron microscopes (TEMs) can track. This is the case with platinum nanoparticles supported on cerium oxide (Pt/CeO2) in a CO and O2 gaseous environment. By furthering our understanding of

Supported catalytic nanoparticles undergo rapid structural transformations faster than many transmission electron microscopes (TEMs) can track. This is the case with platinum nanoparticles supported on cerium oxide (Pt/CeO2) in a CO and O2 gaseous environment. By furthering our understanding of the structural dynamics of the Pt/CeO2 system, improved catalyst design principles may be derived to enhance the efficiency of this catalyst. Developing static models of a 2 nm Pt nanoparticle supported on CeO2 and simulating TEM images of the models was found to create similar images to those seen in experimental TEM time-resolved series of the system. Rotations of static models on a ceria support provides a way to understand the experimental samples in three dimensions, which is difficult in two dimensional TEM images. This project expands the possibilities of interpreting TEM images of catalytic systems.

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2021-05

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Structural analysis of nickel doped cerium oxide catalysts for fuel reforming in solid oxide fuel cells

Description

As world energy demands increase, research into more efficient energy production methods has become imperative. Heterogeneous catalysis and nanoscience are used to promote chemical transformations important for energy production. These concepts are important in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) which

As world energy demands increase, research into more efficient energy production methods has become imperative. Heterogeneous catalysis and nanoscience are used to promote chemical transformations important for energy production. These concepts are important in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) which have attracted attention because of their potential to provide an efficient and environmentally favorable power generation system. The SOFC is also fuel-flexible with the ability to run directly on many fuels other than hydrogen. Internal fuel reforming directly in the anode of the SOFC would greatly reduce the cost and complexity of the device. Methane is the simplest hydrocarbon and a main component in natural gas, making it useful when testing catalysts on the laboratory scale. Nickel (Ni) and gadolinium (Gd) doped ceria (CeO2) catalysts for potential use in the SOFC anode were synthesized with a spray drying method and tested for catalytic performance using partial oxidation of methane and steam reforming. The relationships between catalytic performance and structure were then investigated using X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, and environmental transmission electron microscopy. The possibility of solid solutions, segregated phases, and surface layers of Ni were explored. Results for a 10 at.% Ni in CeO2 catalyst reveal a poor catalytic behavior while a 20 at.% Ni in CeO2 catalyst is shown to have superior activity. The inclusion of both 10 at.% Gd and 10 at.% Ni in CeO2 enhances the catalytic performance. Analysis of the presence of Ni in all 3 samples reveals Ni heterogeneity and little evidence for extensive solid solution doping. Ni is found in small domains throughout CeO2 particles. In the 20 at.% Ni sample a segregated, catalytically active NiO phase is observed. Overall, it is found that significant interaction between Ni and CeO2 occurs that could affect the synthesis and functionality of the SOFC anode.

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2012

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A system for in situ UV-visible illumination of transmission electron microscope samples

Description

A system for illuminating a sample in situ with visible and UV light inside a transmission electron microscope was devised to study photocatalysts. There are many factors which must be considered when designing and building such a system. These include

A system for illuminating a sample in situ with visible and UV light inside a transmission electron microscope was devised to study photocatalysts. There are many factors which must be considered when designing and building such a system. These include both mechanical, optical, and electron optical considerations. Some of the restrictions posed by the electron microscope column are significant, and care must be taken not to degrade the microscope's electron optical performance, or to unduly restrict the other current capabilities of the microscope. The nature of these various design considerations is discussed in detail. A description of the system that has been added to the microscope at ASU, an FEI Tecnai F20 environmental transmission electron microscope is also given. The system includes a high brightness broadband light source with optical filters, a fiber to guide the light to the sample, and a system for precisely aligning the fiber tip. The spatial distribution and spectrum of the light reaching the sample has been characterized, and is described in detail.

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Date Created
2012

Synthesis and in situ characterization of nanostructured and amorphous metallic films

Description

Nanocrystalline (nc) thin films exhibit a wide range of enhanced mechanical properties compared to their coarse-grained counterparts. Furthermore, the mechanical behavior and microstructure of nc films is intimately related. Thus, precise control of the size, aspect ratio and spatial

Nanocrystalline (nc) thin films exhibit a wide range of enhanced mechanical properties compared to their coarse-grained counterparts. Furthermore, the mechanical behavior and microstructure of nc films is intimately related. Thus, precise control of the size, aspect ratio and spatial distribution of grains can enable the synthesis of thin films with exceptional mechanical properties. However, conventional bottom-up techniques for synthesizing thin films are incapable of achieving the microstructural control required to explicitly tune their properties. This dissertation focuses on developing a novel technique to synthesize metallic alloy thin films with precisely controlled microstructures and subsequently characterizing their mechanical properties using in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Control over the grain size and distribution was achieved by controlling the recrystallization process of amorphous films by the use of thin crystalline seed layers. The novel technique was used to manipulate the microstructure of structural (TiAl) and functional (NiTi) thin films thereby exhibiting its capability and versatility. Following the synthesis of thin films with tailored microstructures, in situ TEM techniques were employed to probe their mechanical properties. Firstly, a novel technique was developed to measure local atomic level elastic strains in metallic glass thin films during in situ TEM straining. This technique was used to detect structural changes and anelastic deformation in metallic glass thin films. Finally, as the electron beam (e-beam) in TEMs is known to cause radiation damage to specimen, systematic experiments were carried out to quantify the effect of the e-beam on the stress-strain response of nc metals. Experiments conducted on Al and Au films revealed that the e-beam enhances dislocation activity leading to stress relaxation.

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2017

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Microstructure of BAlN and InGaN epilayers for optoelectronic applications

Description

In this dissertation, various characterization techniques have been used to investigate many aspects of the properties of III-nitride materials and devices for optoelectronic applications.

The first part of this work is focused on the evolution of microstructures of BAlN thin

In this dissertation, various characterization techniques have been used to investigate many aspects of the properties of III-nitride materials and devices for optoelectronic applications.

The first part of this work is focused on the evolution of microstructures of BAlN thin films. The films were grown by flow-modulated epitaxy at 1010 oC, with B/(B+Al) gas-flow ratios ranging from 0.06 to 0.18. The boron content obtained from X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns ranges from x = 0.02 to 0.09, while Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS) measures x = 0.06 to 0.16. Transmission electron microscopy indicates the sole presence of the wurtzite crystal structure in the BAlN films, and a tendency towards twin formation and finer microstructure for B/(B+Al) gas-flow ratios greater than 0.15. The RBS data suggest that the incorporation of B is highly efficient, while the XRD data indicate that the epitaxial growth may be limited by a solubility limit in the crystal phase at about 9%. Electron energy loss spectroscopy has been used to profile spatial variations in the composition of the films. It has also located point defects in the films with nanometer resolution. The defects are identified as B and Al interstitials and N vacancies by comparison of the observed energy thresholds with results of density functional theory calculations.

The second part of this work investigates dislocation clusters observed in thick InxGa1-xN films with 0.07 ≤ x ≤ 0.12. The clusters resemble baskets with a higher indium content at their interior. Threading dislocations at the basket boundaries are of the misfit edge type, and their separation is consistent with misfit strain relaxation due the difference in indium content between the baskets and the surrounding matrix. The base of the baskets exhibits no observable misfit dislocations connected to the threading dislocations, and often no net displacements like those due to stacking faults. It is argued that the origin of these threading dislocation arrays is associated with misfit dislocations at the basal plane that dissociate, forming stacking faults. When the stacking faults form simultaneously satisfying the crystal symmetry, the sum of their translation vectors does add up to zero, consistent with our experimental observations.

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Date Created
2018

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Atomic-level analysis of oxygen exchange reactions on ceria-based catalysts

Description

Non-stoichiometric oxides play a critical role in many catalytic, energy, and sensing technologies, providing the ability to reversibly exchange oxygen with the ambient environment through the creation and annihilation of surface oxygen vacancies. Oxygen exchange at the surfaces of these

Non-stoichiometric oxides play a critical role in many catalytic, energy, and sensing technologies, providing the ability to reversibly exchange oxygen with the ambient environment through the creation and annihilation of surface oxygen vacancies. Oxygen exchange at the surfaces of these materials is strongly influenced by atomic structure, which varies significantly across nanoparticle surfaces. The studies presented herein elucidate the relationship between surface structure behaviors and oxygen exchange reactions on ceria (CeO2) catalyst materials. In situ aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopy (AC-TEM) techniques were developed and employed to correlate dynamic atomic-level structural heterogeneities to local oxygen vacancy activity.

A model Ni/CeO2 catalyst was used to probe the role of a ceria support during hydrocarbon reforming reactions, and it was revealed that carbon formation was inhibited on Ni metal nanoparticles due to the removal of lattice oxygen from the ceria support and subsequent oxidation of adsorbed decomposed hydrocarbon products. Atomic resolution observations of surface oxygen vacancy creation and annihilation were performed on CeO2 nanoparticle surfaces using a novel time-resolved in situ AC-TEM approach. Cation displacements were found to be related to oxygen vacancy creation and annihilation, and the most reactive surface oxygen sites were identified by monitoring the frequency of cation displacements. In addition, the dynamic evolution of CeO2 surface structures was characterized with high temporal resolution AC-TEM imaging, which resulted in atomic column positions and occupancies to be determined with a combination of spatial precision and temporal resolution that had not previously been achieved. As a result, local lattice expansions and contractions were observed on ceria surfaces, which were likely related to cyclic oxygen vacancy activity. Finally, local strain fields on CeO2 surfaces were quantified, and it was determined that local strain enhanced the ability of a surface site to create oxygen vacancies. Through the characterization of dynamic surface structures with advanced AC-TEM techniques, an improvement in the fundamental understanding of how ceria surfaces influence and control oxygen exchange reactions was obtained.

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2019