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Nanoporous conducting materials

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Nanoporous electrically conducting materials can be prepared with high specific pore volumes and surface areas which make them well-suited for a wide variety of technologies including separation, catalysis and owing to their conductivity, energy related applications like solar cells, batteries

Nanoporous electrically conducting materials can be prepared with high specific pore volumes and surface areas which make them well-suited for a wide variety of technologies including separation, catalysis and owing to their conductivity, energy related applications like solar cells, batteries and capacitors. General synthetic methods for nanoporous conducting materials that exhibit fine property control as well as facility and efficiency in their implementation continue to be highly sought after. Here, general methods for the synthesis of nanoporous conducting materials and their characterization are presented. Antimony-doped tin oxide (ATO), a transparent conducting oxide (TCO), and nanoporous conducting carbon can be prepared through the step-wise synthesis of interpenetrating inorganic/organic networks using well-established sol-gel methodology. The one-pot method produces an inorganic gel first that encompasses a solution of organic precursors. The surface of the inorganic gel subsequently catalyzes the formation of an organic gel network that interpenetrates throughout the inorganic gel network. These mutually supporting gel networks strengthen one another and allow for the use of evaporative drying methods and heat treatments that would usually destroy the porosity of an unsupported gel network. The composite gel is then selectively treated to either remove the organic network to provide a porous inorganic network, as is the case for antimony-doped tin oxide, or the inorganic network can be removed to generate a porous carbon material. The method exhibits flexibility in that the pore structure of the final porous material can be modified through the variation of the synthetic conditions. Additionally, porous carbons of hierarchical pore size distributions can be prepared by using wet alumina gel as a template dispersion medium and as a template itself. Alumina gels exhibit thixotropy, which is the ability of a solid to be sheared to a liquid state and upon removal of the shear force, return to a solid gel state. Alumina gels were prepared and blended with monomer solutions and sacrificial template particles to produce wet gel composites. These composites could then be treated to remove the alumina and template particles to generate hierarchically porous carbon.

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Date Created
2012

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Mechanistic studies of one-electron reduced bipyridine reactions relevant to carbon dioxide sequestration

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Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will inevitably lead to long-term changes in climate that can have serious consequences. Controlling anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, however, represents a significant technological challenge. Various chemical approaches have

Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will inevitably lead to long-term changes in climate that can have serious consequences. Controlling anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, however, represents a significant technological challenge. Various chemical approaches have been suggested, perhaps the most promising of these is based on electrochemical trapping of carbon dioxide using pyridine and derivatives. Optimization of this process requires a detailed understanding of the mechanisms of the reactions of reduced pyridines with carbon dioxide, which are not currently well known. This thesis describes a detailed mechanistic study of the nucleophilic and Bronsted basic properties of the radical anion of bipyridine as a model pyridine derivative, formed by one-electron reduction, with particular emphasis on the reactions with carbon dioxide. A time-resolved spectroscopic method was used to characterize the key intermediates and determine the kinetics of the reactions of the radical anion and its protonated radical form. Using a pulsed nanosecond laser, the bipyridine radical anion could be generated in-situ in less than 100 ns, which allows fast reactions to be monitored in real time. The bipyridine radical anion was found to be a very powerful one-electron donor, Bronsted base and nucleophile. It reacts by addition to the C=O bonds of ketones with a bimolecular rate constant around 1* 107 M-1 s-1. These are among the fastest nucleophilic additions that have been reported in literature. Temperature dependence studies demonstrate very low activation energies and large Arrhenius pre-exponential parameters, consistent with very high reactivity. The kinetics of E2 elimination, where the radical anion acts as a base, and SN2 substitution, where the radical anion acts as a nucleophile, are also characterized by large bimolecular rate constants in the range ca. 106 - 107 M-1 s-1. The pKa of the bipyridine radical anion was measured using a kinetic method and analysis of the data using a Marcus theory model for proton transfer. The bipyridine radical anion is found to have a pKa of 40±5 in DMSO. The reorganization energy for the proton transfer reaction was found to be 70±5 kJ/mol. The bipyridine radical anion was found to react very rapidly with carbon dioxide, with a bimolecular rate constant of 1* 108 M-1 s-1 and a small activation energy, whereas the protonated radical reacted with carbon dioxide with a rate constant that was too small to measure. The kinetic and thermodynamic data obtained in this work can be used to understand the mechanisms of the reactions of pyridines with carbon dioxide under reducing conditions.

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Date Created
2015

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Nanoporous transparent conducting oxides and new solid acid catalysts

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New sol-gel routes were developed to fabricate transparent conducting oxide coatings for energy applications. Sol-gel synthesis was chosen because the metal oxide products have high surface area and porosity. Titanium sol-gel chemistry was the main focus of the

New sol-gel routes were developed to fabricate transparent conducting oxide coatings for energy applications. Sol-gel synthesis was chosen because the metal oxide products have high surface area and porosity. Titanium sol-gel chemistry was the main focus of the studies, and the synthesis of macroporous antimony-doped tin oxide was also explored. The surface chemistry and band characteristics of anatase TiO2 show promise for solar energy purposes as photoelectrodes in DSSCs and as photocatalysts to degrade organic dyes and to split water. Modifying the band structure by increasing the conduction band edge energy is specifically of interest for reducing protons in water. To this end, a new sol-gel method was developed for incorporating Zr-dopant in nanoporous anatase TiO2. The products follow Vegard’s law up to 20 atom%, exhibiting surface area of 79 m2/g and pore volume of 0.20 cm3/g with average pore diameter of 10.3 nm; the conduction band edge energy increased by 0.22 eV and the band gap increased by 0.1 eV.

In pursuit of a greener sol-gel route for TiO2 materials, a solution of TiOSO4 in water was explored. Success in obtaining a gel came by utilizing hydrogen peroxide as a ligand that suppressed precipitation reactions. Through modifying this sol-gel chemistry to obtain a solid acid, the new material hydrogen titanium phosphate sulfate, H1-xTi2(PO4)3-x(SO4)x, (0 < x < 0.5) was synthesized and characterized for the first time. From the reported synthetic route, this compound took the form of macroscopic agglomerates of nanoporous aggregates of nanoparticles around 20 nm and the product calcined at 600 °C exhibited surface area of 78 m2/g, pore volume of 0.22 cm3/g and an average pore width of 11 nm. This solid acid exhibits complete selectivity for the non-oxidative dehydrogenation of methanol to formaldehyde and hydrogen gas, with >50% conversion at 300 °C.

Finally, hierarchically meso-macroporous antimony doped tin oxide was synthesized with regular macropore size around 210 nm, determined by statistical dye trajectory tracking, and also with larger pores up to micrometers in size. The structure consisted of nanoparticles around 4 nm in size, with textural mesopores around 20 nm in diameter.

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Date Created
2016