Matching Items (18)

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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

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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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

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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Structural Characterization of III-V Bismide Materials Grown by Molecular Beam Epitaxy

Description

III-V-bismide semiconductor alloys are a class of materials with applications in the mid and long wave infrared spectrum. The quaternary alloy InAsSbBi is attractive because it can be grown

III-V-bismide semiconductor alloys are a class of materials with applications in the mid and long wave infrared spectrum. The quaternary alloy InAsSbBi is attractive because it can be grown lattice-matched to commercially available GaSb substrates, and the adjustment of the Bi and Sb mole fractions enables both lattice constant and bandgap to be tuned independently. This dissertation provides a comprehensive study of the surface morphology and the structural and chemical properties of InAsSbBi alloys grown by molecular beam epitaxy.

210 nm thick InAsSbBi layers grown at temperatures from 280 °C to 430 °C on (100) on-axis, (100) offcut 1° to (011), and (100) offcut 4° to (111)A GaSb substrates are investigated using Rutherford back scattering, X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, Nomarski optical microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and photoluminescence spectroscopy. The results indicate that the layers are coherently strained and contain dilute Bi mole fractions.

Large surface droplets with diameters and densities on the order of 3 µm and 106 cm-2 are observed when the growth is performed with As overpressures around 1%. Preferential orientation of the droplets occurs along the [011 ̅] step edges offcut (100) 1° to (011) substrate. The surface droplets are not observed when the As overpressure is increased to 4%. Small crystalline droplets with diameters and densities on the order of 70 nm and 1010 cm-2 are observed between the large droplets for the growth at 430°C. Analysis of one of the small droplets indicates a misoriented zinc blende structure composed of In, Sb, and Bi, with a 6.543 ± 0.038 Å lattice constant.

Lateral variation in the Bi mole fraction is observed in InAsSbBi grown at high temperature (400 °C, 420 °C) on (100) on-axis and (100) offcut 4° to (111)A substrates, but is not observed for growth at 280 °C or on (100) substrates that are offcut 1° to (011). Improved crystal and optical quality is observed in the high temperature grown InAsSbBi and CuPtB type atomic ordering on the {111}B planes is observed in the low temperature grown InAsSbBi. Strain induced tilt is observed in coherently strained InAsSbBi grown on offcut substrates.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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.

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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Date Created
  • 2017

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Defects and Defect Clusters in Compound Semiconductors

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Extended crystal defects often play a critical role in determining semiconductor device performance. This dissertation describes the application of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and aberration-corrected scanning TEM (AC-STEM) to study

Extended crystal defects often play a critical role in determining semiconductor device performance. This dissertation describes the application of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and aberration-corrected scanning TEM (AC-STEM) to study defect clusters and the atomic-scale structure of defects in compound semiconductors.

An extensive effort was made to identify specific locations of crystal defects in epitaxial CdTe that might contribute to degraded light-conversion efficiency. Electroluminescence (EL) mapping and the creation of surface etch pits through chemical treatment were combined in attempts to identify specific structural defects for subsequent TEM examination. Observations of these specimens revealed only surface etch pits, without any visible indication of extended defects near their base. While chemical etch pits could be helpful for precisely locating extended defects that intersect with the treated surface, this study concluded that surface roughness surrounding etch pits would likely mitigate against their usefulness.

Defect locations in GaAs solar-cell devices were identified using combinations of EL, photoluminescence, and Raman scattering, and then studied more closely using TEM. Observations showed that device degradation was invariably associated with a cluster of extended defects, rather than a single defect, as previously assumed. AC-STEM observations revealed that individual defects within each cluster consisted primarily of intrinsic stacking faults terminated by 30° and 90° partial dislocations, although other defect structures were also identified. Lomer dislocations were identified near locations where two lines of strain contrast intersected in a large cluster, and a comparatively shallow cluster, largely constrained to the GaAs emitter layer, contained 60° perfect dislocations associated with localized strain contrast.

In another study, misfit dislocations at II-VI/III-V heterovalent interfaces were investigated and characterized using AC-STEM. Misfit strain at ZnTe/GaAs interfaces, which have relatively high lattice mismatch (7.38%), was relieved primarily through Lomer dislocations, while ZnTe/InP interfaces, with only 3.85% lattice mismatch, were relaxed by a mixture of 60° perfect dislocations, 30° partial dislocations, and Lomer dislocations. These results were consistent with the previous findings that misfit strain was relaxed primarily through 60° perfect dislocations that had either dissociated into partial dislocations or interacted to form Lomer dislocations as the amount of misfit strain increased.

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  • 2020

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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

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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Date Created
  • 2012

Membrane specificity of proton pyrophosphatase and plasmodesmata ultrastructure provide the structural basis for sugar loading in Oryza sativa and Physcomitrella patens

Description

The remarkable conservation of molecular and intra-/inter-cellular pathways underpinning the fundamental aspects of sugar partitioning in two evolutionarily divergent organisms – a non-vascular moss Physcomitrella patens and a vascular cereal

The remarkable conservation of molecular and intra-/inter-cellular pathways underpinning the fundamental aspects of sugar partitioning in two evolutionarily divergent organisms – a non-vascular moss Physcomitrella patens and a vascular cereal crop Oryza sativa (rice) – forms the basis of this manuscript. Much of our current knowledge pertaining to sugar partitioning in plants mainly comes from studies in thale cress, Arabidopsis thaliana, but how photosynthetic sugar is loaded into the phloem in a crop as important as rice is still debated. Even less is known about the mechanistic aspects of sugar movement in mosses. In plants, sugar either moves passively via intercellular channels called plasmodesmata, or through the cell wall spaces in an energy-consuming process. As such, I first investigated the structure of plasmodesmata in rice leaf minor vein using electron tomography to create as of yet unreported 3D models of these channels in both simple and branched conformations. Contrary to generally held belief, I report two different 3D morphotypes of simple plasmodesmata in rice. Furthermore, the complementary body of evidence in arabidopsis implicates plasma membrane localized Proton Pyrophosphatase (H+-PPase) in the energy-dependent movement of sugar. Within this wider purview, I studied the in situ ultrastructural localization patterns of H+-PPase orthologs in high-pressure frozen tissues of rice and physcomitrella. Were H+-PPases neo-functionalized in the vascular tissues of higher plants? Or are there evolutionarily conserved roles of this protein that transcend the phylogenetic diversity of land plants? I show that H+-PPases are distinctly expressed in the actively growing regions of both rice and physcomitrella. As expected, H+-PPases were also localized in the vascular tissues of rice. But surprisingly, H+-PPase orthologs were also prominently expressed at the gametophyte-sporophyte junction of physcomitrella. Upon immunogold labeling, H+-PPases were found to be predominantly localized at the plasma membrane of the phloem complexes of rice source leaves, and both the vacuoles and plasma membrane of the transfer cells in the physcomitrella haustorium, linking H+-PPases in active sucrose loading in both plants. As such, these findings suggest that the localization and presumably the function of H+-PPases are conserved throughout the evolutionary history of land plants.

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  • 2016

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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

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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  • 2018

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Evaluation of compound semiconductors for infrared photo-detection applications

Description

In this dissertation research, conventional and aberration-corrected (AC) transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques were used to evaluate the structural and compositional properties of thin-film semiconductor compounds/alloys grown by molecular beam

In this dissertation research, conventional and aberration-corrected (AC) transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques were used to evaluate the structural and compositional properties of thin-film semiconductor compounds/alloys grown by molecular beam epitaxy for infrared photo-detection. Imaging, diffraction and spectroscopy techniques were applied to TEM specimens in cross-section geometry to extract information about extended structural defects, chemical homogeneity and interface abruptness. The materials investigated included InAs1-xBix alloys grown on GaSb (001) substrates, InAs/InAs1-xSbx type-II superlattices grown on GaSb (001) substrates, and CdTe-based thin-film structures grown on InSb (001) substrates.

The InAsBi dilute-bismide epitaxial films were grown on GaSb (001) substrates at relatively low growth temperatures. The films were mostly free of extended defects, as observed in diffraction-contrast images, but the incorporation of bismuth was not homogeneous, as manifested by the lateral Bi-composition modulation and Bi-rich surface droplets. Successful Bi incorporation into the InAs matrix was confirmed using lattice expansion measurements obtained from misfit strain analysis of high-resolution TEM (HREM) images.

Analysis of averaged intensity line profiles in HREM and scanning TEM (STEM) images of the Ga-free InAs/InAs1-xSbx type-II strained superlattices indicated slight variations in layer thickness across the superlattice stack. The interface abruptness was evaluated using misfit strain analysis of AC-STEM images, electron energy-loss spectroscopy and 002 dark-field imaging. The compositional profiles of antimony across the superlattices were fitted to a segregation model and revealed a strong antimony segregation probability.

The CdTe/MgxCd1-xTe double-heterostructures were grown with Cd overflux in a dual-chamber molecular beam epitaxy with an ultra-high vacuum transfer loadlock. Diffraction-contrast images showed that the growth temperature had a strong impact on the structural quality of the epilayers. Very abrupt CdTe/InSb interfaces were obtained for epilayers grown at the optimum temperature of 265 °C, and high-resolution imaging using AC-STEM revealed an interfacial transition region with a width of a few monolayers and smaller lattice spacing than either CdTe or InSb.

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  • 2017

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Nanoscale heterogeneities in visible light absorbing photocatalysts: connecting structure to functionality through electron microscopy and spectroscopy

Description

Photocatalytic water splitting over suspended nanoparticles represents a potential solution for achieving CO2-neutral energy generation and storage. To design efficient photocatalysts, a fundamental understanding of the material’s structure, electronic properties,

Photocatalytic water splitting over suspended nanoparticles represents a potential solution for achieving CO2-neutral energy generation and storage. To design efficient photocatalysts, a fundamental understanding of the material’s structure, electronic properties, defects, and how these are controlled via synthesis is essential. Both bulk and nanoscale materials characterization, in addition to various performance metrics, can be combined to elucidate functionality at multiple length scales. In this work, two promising visible light harvesting systems are studied in detail: Pt-functionalized graphitic carbon nitrides (g-CNxHys) and TiO2-supported CeO2-x composites.

Electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) is used to sense variations in the local concentration of amine moieties (defects believed to facilitate interfacial charge transfer) at the surface of a g-CNxHy flake. Using an aloof-beam configuration, spatial resolution is maximized while minimizing damage thus providing nanoscale vibrational fingerprints similar to infrared absorption spectra. Structural disorder in g-CNxHys is further studied using transmission electron microscopy at low electron fluence rates. In-plane structural fluctuations revealed variations in the local azimuthal orientation of the heptazine building blocks, allowing planar domain sizes to be related to the average polymer chain length. Furthermore, competing factors regulating photocatalytic performance in a series of Pt/g-CNxHys is elucidated. Increased polymer condensation in the g-CNxHy support enhances the rate of charge transfer to reactants owing to higher electronic mobility. However, active site densities are over 3x lower on the most condensed g-CNxHy which ultimately limits its H2 evolution rate (HER). Based on these findings, strategies to improve the cocatalyst configuration on intrinsically active supports are given.

In TiO2/CeO2-x photocatalysts, the effect of the support particle size on the bulk
anoscale properties and photocatalytic performance is investigated. Small anatase supports facilitate highly dispersed CeO2-x species, leading to increased visible light absorption and HERs resulting from a higher density of mixed metal oxide (MMO) interfaces with Ce3+ species. Using monochromated EELS, bandgap states associated with MMO interfaces are detected, revealing electronic transitions from 0.5 eV up to the bulk bandgap onset of anatase. Overall, the electron microscopy/spectroscopy techniques developed and applied herein sheds light onto the relevant defects and limiting processes operating within these photocatalyst systems thus suggesting rational design strategies.

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Date Created
  • 2019