Matching Items (31)

Surface stress during electro-oxidation of carbon monoxide and bulk stress evolution during electrochemical intercalation of lithium

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This work investigates in-situ stress evolution of interfacial and bulk processes in electrochemical systems, and is divided into two projects. The first project examines the electrocapillarity of clean and CO-covered electrodes. It also investigates surface stress evolution during electro-oxidation of

This work investigates in-situ stress evolution of interfacial and bulk processes in electrochemical systems, and is divided into two projects. The first project examines the electrocapillarity of clean and CO-covered electrodes. It also investigates surface stress evolution during electro-oxidation of CO at Pt{111}, Ru/Pt{111} and Ru{0001} electrodes. The second project explores the evolution of bulk stress that occurs during intercalation (extraction) of lithium (Li) and formation of a solid electrolyte interphase during electrochemical reduction (oxidation) of Li at graphitic electrodes. Electrocapillarity measurements have shown that hydrogen and hydroxide adsorption are compressive on Pt{111}, Ru/Pt{111}, and Ru{0001}. The adsorption-induced surface stresses correlate strongly with adsorption charge. Electrocatalytic oxidation of CO on Pt{111} and Ru/Pt{111} gives a tensile surface stress. A numerical method was developed to separate both current and stress into background and active components. Applying this model to the CO oxidation signal on Ru{0001} gives a tensile surface stress and elucidates the rate limiting steps on all three electrodes. The enhanced catalysis of Ru/Pt{111} is confirmed to be bi-functional in nature: Ru provides adsorbed hydroxide to Pt allowing for rapid CO oxidation. The majority of Li-ion batteries have anodes consisting of graphite particles with polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) as binder. Intercalation of Li into graphite occurs in stages and produces anisotropic strains. As batteries have a fixed size and shape these strains are converted into mechanical stresses. Conventionally staging phenomena has been observed with X-ray diffraction and collaborated electrochemically with the potential. Work herein shows that staging is also clearly observed in stress. The Li staging potentials as measured by differential chronopotentiometry and stress are nearly identical. Relative peak heights of Li staging, as measured by these two techniques, are similar during reduction, but differ during oxidation due to non-linear stress relaxation phenomena. This stress relaxation appears to be due to homogenization of Li within graphite particles rather than viscous flow of the binder. The first Li reduction wave occurs simultaneously with formation of a passivating layer known as the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI). Preliminary experiments have shown the stress of SEI formation to be tensile (~+1.5 MPa).

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2011

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Electron Microscopy Study of the Phase Transformation and Metal Functionalization of Titanium Oxide Nanotubes

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Titanium oxide (TiO2), an abundant material with high photocatalytic activity and chemical stability is an important candidate for photocatalytic applications. The photocatalytic activity of the TiO2 varies with its phase. In the current project, phase and morphology changes in TiO2

Titanium oxide (TiO2), an abundant material with high photocatalytic activity and chemical stability is an important candidate for photocatalytic applications. The photocatalytic activity of the TiO2 varies with its phase. In the current project, phase and morphology changes in TiO2 nanotubes were studied using ex-situ and in-situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM). X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy studies were also performed to understand the phase and morphology of the nanotubes. As prepared TiO2 nanotubes supported on Ti metal substrate were amorphous, during the heat treatment in the ex-situ furnace nanotubes transform to anatase at 450 oC and transformed to rutile when heated to 800 oC. TiO2 nanotubes that were heat treated in an in-situ environmental TEM, transformed to anatase at 400 oC and remain anatase even up to 800 oC. In both ex-situ an in-situ case, the morphology of the nanotubes drastically changed from a continuous tubular structure to aggregates of individual nanoparticles. The difference between the ex-situ an in-situ treatments and their effect on the phase transformation is discussed. Metal doping is one of the effective ways to improve the photocatalytic performance. Several approaches were performed to get metal loading on to the TiO2 nanotubes. Mono-dispersed platinum nanoparticles were deposited on the TiO2 nanopowder and nanotubes using photoreduction method. Photo reduction for Ag and Pt bimetallic nanoparticles were also performed on the TiO2 powders.

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2014

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Application and study of water oxidation catalysts and molecular dyes for solar-fuel production

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Developing a system capable of using solar energy to drive the conversion of an abundant and available precursor to fuel would profoundly impact humanity's energy use and thereby the condition of the global ecosystem. Such is the goal of artificial

Developing a system capable of using solar energy to drive the conversion of an abundant and available precursor to fuel would profoundly impact humanity's energy use and thereby the condition of the global ecosystem. Such is the goal of artificial photosynthesis: to convert water to hydrogen using solar radiation as the sole energy input and ideally do so with the use of low cost, abundant materials. Constructing photoelectrochemical cells incorporating photoanodes structurally reminiscent of those used in dye sensitized photovoltaic solar cells presents one approach to establishing an artificial photosynthetic system. The work presented herein describes the production, integration, and study of water oxidation catalysts, molecular dyes, and metal oxide based photoelectrodes carried out in the pursuit of developing solar water splitting systems.

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2013

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Interfacial and electrode modifications in P₃HT:PC₆₁BM based organic solar cells: devices, processing and characterization

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The inexorable upsurge in world’s energy demand has steered the search for newer renewable energy sources and photovoltaics seemed to be one of the best alternatives for energy production. Among the various photovoltaic technologies that emerged, organic/polymer photovoltaics based on

The inexorable upsurge in world’s energy demand has steered the search for newer renewable energy sources and photovoltaics seemed to be one of the best alternatives for energy production. Among the various photovoltaic technologies that emerged, organic/polymer photovoltaics based on solution processed bulk-heterojunctions (BHJ) of semiconducting polymers has gained serious attention owing to the use of inexpensive light-weight materials, exhibiting high mechanical flexibility and compatibility with low temperature roll-to-roll manufacturing techniques on flexible substrates. The most widely studied material to date is the blend of regioregular P3HT and PC61BM used as donor and acceptor materials. The object of this study was to investigate and improve the performance/stability of the organic solar cells by use of inexpensive materials. In an attempt to enhance the efficiency of organic solar cells, we have demonstrated the use of hexamethyldisilazane (HMDS) modified indium tin oxide (ITO) electrode in bulk heterojunction solar cell structure The device studies showed a significant enhancement in the short-circuit current as well as in the shunt resistance on use of the hexamethyldisilazane (HMDS) layer. In another approach a p-type CuI hole-transport layer was utilized that could possibly replace the acidic PEDOT:PSS layer in the fabrication of high-efficiency solar cells. The device optimization was done by varying the concentration of CuI in the precursor solution which played an important role in the efficiency of the solar cell devices. Recently a substantial amount of research has been focused on identifying suitable interfacial layers in organic solar cells which has efficient charge transport properties. It was illustrated that a thin layer of silver oxide interfacial layer showed a 28% increase in power conversion efficiency in comparison to that of the control cell. The optoelectronic properties and morphological features of indium-free ZnO/Ag/MoOx electrodes was also studied. Organic solar cells on these composite electrodes revealed good optical and electrical properties, making them a promising alternative indium free and PEDOT:PSS-free organic solar cells. Lastly, inverted solar cells utilizing zinc oxide and yttrium doped zinc oxide electron transport was also created and their device properties revealed that optimum annealing conditions and yttrium doping was essential to obtain high efficiency solar cells.

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2015

Insulator-based dielectrophoretic manipulation of DNA in a microfluidic device

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DNA and DNA nanoassemblies such as DNA origamis have large potential in biosensing, drug delivery, nanoelectronic circuits, and biological computing requiring suitable methods for migration and precise positioning. Insulator-based dielectrophoresis (iDEP) provides an efficient and matrix-free approach for manipulation of

DNA and DNA nanoassemblies such as DNA origamis have large potential in biosensing, drug delivery, nanoelectronic circuits, and biological computing requiring suitable methods for migration and precise positioning. Insulator-based dielectrophoresis (iDEP) provides an efficient and matrix-free approach for manipulation of micro-and nanometer-sized objects. In order to exploit iDEP for naturally formed DNA and DNA nanoassemblies, a detailed understanding of the underlying polarization and dielectrophoretic migration is essential. The shape and the counterion distribution are considered two essential factors in the polarization mechanism. Here, the dielectrophoretic behavior of 6-helix bundle (6HxB) and triangle DNA origamis with identical sequences but substantial topological differences was explored. The polarizability models were discussed for the two species according to their structural difference. The experimental observations reveal distinct iDEP trapping behavior in low frequency AC electric fields in addition to numerical simulations showing a considerable contribution of the electrophoretic transport of the DNA origami species in the DEP trapping regions. Furthermore, the polarizabilities of the two species were determined by measuring the migration times through a potential landscape exhibiting dielectrophoretic barriers. The resulting migration times correlate to the depth of the dielectrophoretic potential barrier and the escape characteristics of the DNA origamis according to an adapted Kramer’s rate model. The orientations of both species in the escape process were studied. Finally, to study the counterion distribution around the DNA molecules, both λ-DNA and 6HxB DNA were used in a phosphate buffer containing magnesium, revealing distinctive negative dielectrophoretic trapping behavior as opposed to positive trapping in a sodium/potassium phosphate buffer system.

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2015

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The investigation and characterization of the group 3 [NiFe]-Hydrogenases using protein film electrochemistry

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Hydrogenases, the enzymes that reversibly convert protons and electrons to hydrogen, are used in all three domains of life. [NiFe]-hydrogenases are considered best suited for biotechnological applications because of their reversible inactivation with oxygen. Phylogenetically, there are four groups of

Hydrogenases, the enzymes that reversibly convert protons and electrons to hydrogen, are used in all three domains of life. [NiFe]-hydrogenases are considered best suited for biotechnological applications because of their reversible inactivation with oxygen. Phylogenetically, there are four groups of [NiFe]-hydrogenases. The best characterized group, "uptake" hydrogenases, are membrane-bound and catalyze hydrogen oxidation in vivo. In contrast, the group 3 [NiFe]-hydrogenases are heteromultimeric, bifunctional enzymes that fulfill various cellular roles. In this dissertation, protein film electrochemistry (PFE) is used to characterize the catalytic properties of two group 3 [NiFe]-hydrogenases: HoxEFUYH from Synechocystsis sp. PCC 6803 and SHI from Pyrococcus furiosus. First, HoxEFUYH is shown to be biased towards hydrogen production. Upon exposure to oxygen, HoxEFUYH inactivates to two states, both of which can be reactivated on the timescale of seconds. Second, we show that PfSHI is the first example of an oxygen tolerant [NiFe]-hydrogenase that produces two inactive states upon exposure to oxygen. Both inactive states are analogous to those characterized for HoxEFUYH, but oxygen exposed PfSHI produces a greater fraction that reactivates at high potentials, enabling hydrogen oxidation in the presence of oxygen. Third, it is shown that removing the NAD(P)-reducing subunits from PfSHI leads to a decrease in bias towards hydrogen oxidation and renders the enzyme oxygen sensitive. Both traits are likely due to impaired intramolecular electron transfer. Mechanistic hypotheseses for these functional differences are considered.

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2012

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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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2012

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Morphology evolution in dealloying

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Dealloying, the selective dissolution of an elemental component from an alloy, is an important corrosion mechanism and a technological significant means to fabricate nanoporous structures for a variety of applications. In noble metal alloys, dealloying proceeds above a composition dependent

Dealloying, the selective dissolution of an elemental component from an alloy, is an important corrosion mechanism and a technological significant means to fabricate nanoporous structures for a variety of applications. In noble metal alloys, dealloying proceeds above a composition dependent critical potential, and bi-continuous structure evolves "simultaneously" as a result of the interplay between percolation dissolution and surface diffusion. In contrast, dealloying in alloys that show considerable solid-state mass transport at ambient temperature is largely unexplored despite its relevance to nanoparticle catalysts and Li-ion anodes. In my dissertation, I discuss the behaviors of two alloy systems in order to elucidate the role of bulk lattice diffusion in dealloying. First, Mg-Cd alloys are chosen to show that when the dealloying is controlled by bulk diffusion, a new type of porosity - negative void dendrites will form, and the process mirrors electrodeposition. Then, Li-Sn alloys are studied with respect to the composition, particle size and dealloying rate effects on the morphology evolution. Under the right condition, dealloying of Li-Sn supported by percolation dissolution results in the same bi-continuous structure as nanoporous noble metals; whereas lattice diffusion through the otherwise "passivated" surface allows for dealloying with no porosity evolution. The interactions between bulk diffusion, surface diffusion and dissolution are revealed by chronopotentiometry and linear sweep voltammetry technics. The better understanding of dealloying from these experiments enables me to construct a brief review summarizing the electrochemistry and morphology aspects of dealloying as well as offering interpretations to new observations such as critical size effect and encased voids in nanoporous gold. At the end of the dissertation, I will describe a preliminary attempt to generalize the morphology evolution "rules of dealloying" to all solid-to-solid interfacial controlled phase transition process, demonstrating that bi-continuous morphologies can evolve regardless of the nature of parent phase.

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2013

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An in situ Surface Stress Study of Electrochemical Phenomena: Electrodeposition and Molecular Adsorption

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Over the last decade copper electrodeposition has become the dominant process by which microelectronic interconnects are made. Replacing ultra-high vacuum evaporative film growth, the technology known as the Cu damascene process has been widely implemented in the microelectronics industry since

Over the last decade copper electrodeposition has become the dominant process by which microelectronic interconnects are made. Replacing ultra-high vacuum evaporative film growth, the technology known as the Cu damascene process has been widely implemented in the microelectronics industry since the early 2000s. The transition from vacuum film growth to electrodeposition was enabled by solution chemistries that provide "bottom-up" or superfilling capability of vias and trenches. While the process has been and is used widely, the actual mechanisms responsible for superfilling remain relatively unknown. This dissertation presents and discusses the background and results of experimental investigations that have been done using in situ electrochemical surface stress monitoring techniques to study the evolution of stress on Cu{111} thin film electrodes. Because of its extreme sensitivity to the structure on both the electrode and solution sides of the interface, surface stress monitoring as analytical technique is well suited for the study of electrodeposition. These ultra-high resolution stress measurements reveal the dynamic response of copper electrodes to a number of electrochemical and chemical experimental variables. In the case of constant current pulsed deposition and stripping, the surface stress evolution depends not only on the magnitude of the current pulse, but also shows a marked response to plating bath composition. The plating bath chemistries used in this work include (1) additive free, (2) deposition suppressing solutions that include polyethylene glycol (PEG) and sodium chloride (NaCl) as well as (3) full additive solution combinations which contain PEG, NaCl, and a one of two deposition accelerating species (bis-(sodiumsulfopropyl)disulfide (SPS) or mercaptopropane sulfonic acid (MPS)). The development of thin film stress is further investigated through a series of solution exchange experiments that correlate the magnitude of electrode exchange current density and the stress state of the film. Remarkably, stress changes as large as ~8.5 N/m are observed during solution exchanges at the open circuit potential. Overall, this research demonstrates that solution chemistry can have a large impact on thin film stress evolution, even for very small deposition thicknesses (e.g. <10 ML) or in the absence of net addition or removal of material from the electrode.

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2011

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Engineering the electrode-electrolyte interface: from electrode architecture to Zn redox in ionic liquid electrolytes

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The electrode-electrolyte interface in electrochemical environments involves the understanding of complex processes relevant for all electrochemical applications. Some of these processes include electronic structure, charge storage, charge transfer, solvent dynamics and structure and surface adsorption. In order to engineer electrochemical

The electrode-electrolyte interface in electrochemical environments involves the understanding of complex processes relevant for all electrochemical applications. Some of these processes include electronic structure, charge storage, charge transfer, solvent dynamics and structure and surface adsorption. In order to engineer electrochemical systems, no matter the function, requires fundamental intuition of all the processes at the interface. The following work presents different systems in which the electrode-electrolyte interface is highly important. The first is a charge storage electrode utilizing percolation theory to develop an electrode architecture producing high capacities. This is followed by Zn deposition in an ionic liquid in which the deposition morphology is highly dependant on the charge transfer and surface adsorption at the interface. Electrode Architecture: A three-dimensional manganese oxide supercapacitor electrode architecture is synthesized by leveraging percolation theory to develop a hierarchically designed tri-continuous percolated network. The three percolated phases include a faradaically-active material, electrically conductive material and pore-former templated void space. The micropores create pathways for ionic conductivity, while the nanoscale electrically conducting phase provides both bulk conductivity and local electron transfer with the electrochemically active phase. Zn Electrodeposition: Zn redox in air and water stable N-ethyl-N-methylmorpholinium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide, [C2nmm][NTf2] is presented. Under various conditions, characterization of overpotential, kinetics and diffusion of Zn species and morphological evolution as a function of overpotential and Zn concentration are analyzed. The surface stress evolution during Zn deposition is examined where grain size and texturing play significant rolls in compressive stress generation. Morphological repeatability in the ILs led to a novel study of purity in ionic liquids where it is found that surface adsorption of residual amine and chloride from the organic synthesis affect growth characteristics. The drivers of this work are to understand the processes occurring at the electrode-electrolyte interface and with that knowledge, engineer systems yielding optimal performance. With this in mind, the design of a bulk supercapacitor electrode architecture with excellent composite specific capacitances, as well as develop conditions producing ideal Zn deposition morphologies was completed.

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2011