Matching Items (5)

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The effect of defects on functional properties of niobium for superconducting radio-frequency cavities: a first-principles study

Description

Niobium is the primary material for fabricating superconducting radio-frequency (SRF) cavities. However, presence of impurities and defects degrade the superconducting behavior of niobium twofold, first by nucleating non-superconducting phases and

Niobium is the primary material for fabricating superconducting radio-frequency (SRF) cavities. However, presence of impurities and defects degrade the superconducting behavior of niobium twofold, first by nucleating non-superconducting phases and second by increasing the residual surface resistance of cavities. In particular, niobium absorbs hydrogen during cavity fabrication and promotes precipitation of non-superconducting niobium hydride phases. Additionally, magnetic flux trapping at defects leads to a normal conducting (non-superconducting) core which increases surface resistance and negatively affects niobium performance for superconducting applications. However, undelaying mechanisms related to hydride formation and dissolution along with defect interaction with magnetic fields is still unclear. Therefore, this dissertation aims to investigate the role of defects and impurities on functional properties of niobium for SRF cavities using first-principles methods.

Here, density functional theory calculations revealed that nitrogen addition suppressed hydrogen absorption interstitially and at grain boundaries, and it also decreased the energetic stability of niobium hydride precipitates present in niobium. Further, hydrogen segregation at the screw dislocation was observed to transform the dislocation core structure and increase the barrier for screw dislocation motion. Valence charge transfer calculations displayed a strong tendency of nitrogen to accumulate charge around itself, thereby decreasing the strength of covalent bonds between niobium and hydrogen leading to a very unstable state for interstitial hydrogen and hydrides. Thus, presence of nitrogen during processing plays a critical role in controlling hydride precipitation and subsequent SRF properties.

First-principles methods were further implemented to gain a theoretical perspective about the experimental observations that lattice defects are effective at trapping magnetic flux in high-purity superconducting niobium. Full-potential linear augmented plane-wave methods were used to analyze the effects of magnetic field on the superconducting state surrounding these defects. A considerable amount of trapped flux was obtained at the dislocation core and grain boundaries which can be attributed to significantly different electronic structure of defects as compared to bulk niobium. Electron redistribution at defects enhances non-paramagnetic effects that perturb superconductivity, resulting in local conditions suitable for flux trapping. Therefore, controlling accumulation or depletion of charge at the defects could mitigate these tendencies and aid in improving superconductive behavior of niobium.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Grain boundary passivation of multicrystalline silicon using hydrogen sulfide as a sulfur source

Description

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has been identified as a potential ingredient for grain boundary passivation of multicrystalline silicon. Sulfur is already established as a good surface passivation material for crystalline silicon

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has been identified as a potential ingredient for grain boundary passivation of multicrystalline silicon. Sulfur is already established as a good surface passivation material for crystalline silicon (c-Si). Sulfur can be used both from solution and hydrogen sulfide gas. For multicrystalline silicon (mc-Si) solar cells, increasing efficiency is a major challenge because passivation of mc-Si wafers is more difficult due to its randomly orientated crystal grains and the principal source of recombination is contributed by the defects in the bulk of the wafer and surface.

In this work, a new technique for grain boundary passivation for multicrystalline silicon using hydrogen sulfide has been developed which is accompanied by a compatible Aluminum oxide (Al2O3) surface passivation. Minority carrier lifetime measurement of the passivated samples has been performed and the analysis shows that success has been achieved in terms of passivation and compared to already existing hydrogen passivation, hydrogen sulfide passivation is actually better. Also the surface passivation by Al2O3 helps to increase the lifetime even more after post-annealing and this helps to attain stability for the bulk passivated samples. Minority carrier lifetime is directly related to the internal quantum efficiency of solar cells. Incorporation of this technique in making mc-Si solar cells is supposed to result in higher efficiency cells. Additional research is required in this field for the use of this technique in commercial solar cells.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Role of defects interactions with embrittlement species in iron: a multiscale perspective

Description

Hydrogen embrittlement (HE) is a phenomenon that affects both the physical and chemical properties of several intrinsically ductile metals. Consequently, understanding the mechanisms behind HE has been of particular interest

Hydrogen embrittlement (HE) is a phenomenon that affects both the physical and chemical properties of several intrinsically ductile metals. Consequently, understanding the mechanisms behind HE has been of particular interest in both experimental and modeling research. Discrepancies between experimental observations and modeling results have led to various proposals for HE mechanisms. Therefore, to gain insights into HE mechanisms in iron, this dissertation aims to investigate several key issues involving HE such as: a) the incipient crack tip events; b) the cohesive strength of grain boundaries (GBs); c) the dislocation-GB interactions and d) the dislocation mobility.

The crack tip, which presents a preferential trap site for hydrogen segregation, was examined using atomistic methods and the continuum based Rice-Thompson criterion as sufficient concentration of hydrogen can alter the crack tip deformation mechanism. Results suggest that there is a plausible co-existence of the adsorption induced dislocation emission and hydrogen enhanced decohesion mechanisms. In the case of GB-hydrogen interaction, we observed that the segregation of hydrogen along the interface leads to a reduction in cohesive strength resulting in intergranular failure. A methodology was further developed to quantify the role of the GB structure on this behavior.

GBs play a fundamental role in determining the strengthening mechanisms acting as an impediment to the dislocation motion; however, the presence of an unsurmountable barrier for a dislocation can generate slip localization that could further lead to intergranular crack initiation. It was found that the presence of hydrogen increases the strain energy stored within the GB which could lead to a transition in failure mode. Finally, in the case of body centered cubic metals, understanding the complex screw dislocation motion is critical to the development of an accurate continuum description of the plastic behavior. Further, the presence of hydrogen has been shown to drastically alter the plastic deformation, but the precise role of hydrogen is still unclear. Thus, the role of hydrogen on the dislocation mobility was examined using density functional theory and atomistic simulations. Overall, this dissertation provides a novel atomic-scale understanding of the HE mechanism and development of multiscale tools for future endeavors.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Effect on processing conditions on grain boundary character distribution and mobility in nuclear fuels

Description

The initial microstructure of oxide fuel pellets can play a key role in their performance. At low burnups, the transport of fission products has a strong dependence on oxygen content,

The initial microstructure of oxide fuel pellets can play a key role in their performance. At low burnups, the transport of fission products has a strong dependence on oxygen content, grain size distribution, porosity and grain boundary (GB) characteristics (crystallography, geometry and topology), all of which, in turn depend on processing conditions. These microstructural features can also affect the fuel densification, thermal conductivity and microstructure evolution inside the reactor. Understanding these effects can provide insight into microstructure evolution of fuels in-pile. In this work, mechanical and ion beam serial sectioning techniques were developed to obtain Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) data, both in 2-D and 3-D, for depleted UO2+X pellets manufactured under different conditions. The EBSD maps were used to relate processing conditions to microstructural features, with emphasis on special GBs according to the Coincident Site Lattice (CSL) model, as well as correlations between pore size and location in the microstructure. Furthermore, larger grains (at least 2.5 times the average grain size) were observed in all the samples and studied. Results indicate that larger grains, in samples manufactured under different conditions, dominate the overall crystallographic texture and have a fairly strong GB texture. Moreover, it seems that the preferential misorientation axis for these GBs, regardless of the O/M, is {001}. These results might be related to GB energy and structure and, suggest that the mechanism that controls grain growth seems to be independent of both processing conditions and stoichiometry. Additionally, a sample was heat treated to relate grain growth and crystallography. The results indicate that at least two mechanisms were involved. Lengthening of GBs was observed for larger grains. Another mechanism of grain growth was observed, in this case, grains rotate to match a neighboring grain forming a larger grain. In the new grain, the misorientation between the two neighboring grains decreases to less than 5 degrees, forming a new larger grain. The results presented in this work indicate that detailed studies of the initial microstructure of the fuel, with emphasis on the crystallography of grains and GBs could help to give insights on the in-pile microstructural evolution of the fuel.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Correlating nanoscale grain boundary composition with electrical conductivity in ceria

Description

Because of their favorable ionic and/or electronic conductivity, non-stoichiometric oxides are utilized for energy storage, energy conversion, sensing, catalysis, gas separation, and information technologies, both potential and commercialized. Charge transport

Because of their favorable ionic and/or electronic conductivity, non-stoichiometric oxides are utilized for energy storage, energy conversion, sensing, catalysis, gas separation, and information technologies, both potential and commercialized. Charge transport in these materials is influenced strongly by grain boundaries, which exhibit fluctuations in composition, chemistry and atomic structure within Ångstroms or nanometers. Here, studies are presented that elucidate the interplay between macroscopic electrical conductivity, microscopic character, and local composition and electronic structure of grain boundaries in polycrystalline ceria-based (CeO2) solid solutions. AC impedance spectroscopy is employed to measure macroscopic electrical conductivity of grain boundaries, and electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) in the aberration-correction scanning transmission electron microscope (AC-STEM) is used to quantify local composition and electronic structure. Electron diffraction orientation imaging microscopy is employed to assess microscopic grain boundary character, and links these macro- and nanoscopic techniques across length scales.

A model system, CaxCe1-xO2-x-δ, is used to systematically investigate relationships between nominal Ca2+ concentration, grain boundary ionic conductivity, microscale character, and local solute concentration. Grain boundary conductivity varied by several orders of magnitude over the composition range, and assessment of grain boundary character highlighted the critical influence of local composition on conductivity. Ceria containing Gd3+ and Pr3+/4+ was also investigated following previous theoretical work predicting superior ionic conductivity relative to state-of-the-art GdxCe1-xO2-x/2-δ. The grain boundary conductivity was nearly 100 times greater than expected and a factor four enrichment of Pr concentration was observed at the grain boundary, which suggested electronic conduction that was cited as the origin of the enhanced conductivity. This finding inspired the development of two EELS-based experimental approaches to elucidate the effect of Pr enrichment on grain boundary conductivity. One employed ultra-high energy resolution (~10 meV) monochromated EELS to characterize Pr inter-bandgap electronic states. Alternatively, STEM nanodiffraction orientation imaging coupled with AC-STEM EELS was employed to estimate the composition of the entire grain boundary population in a polycrystalline material. These compositional data were the input to a thermodynamic model used to predict electrical properties of the grain boundary population. These results suggest improved DC ionic conduction and enhanced electronic conduction under AC conditions.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016