Matching Items (18)

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

Description

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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Date Created
2014

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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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Date Created
2011

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Synthesis and in situ environmental transmission electron microscopy investigations of ceria-based oxides for solid oxide fuel cell anodes

Description

The behavior of a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) cermet (ceramic-metal composite) anode under reaction conditions depends significantly on the structure, morphology and atomic scale interactions between the metal and the ceramic components. In situ environmental transmission electron microscope (ETEM)

The behavior of a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) cermet (ceramic-metal composite) anode under reaction conditions depends significantly on the structure, morphology and atomic scale interactions between the metal and the ceramic components. In situ environmental transmission electron microscope (ETEM) is an important tool which not only allows us to perform the basic nanoscale characterization of the anode materials, but also to observe in real-time, the dynamic changes in the anode material under near-reaction conditions. The earlier part of this dissertation is focused on the synthesis and characterization of Pr- and Gd-doped cerium oxide anode materials. A novel spray drying set-up was designed and constructed for preparing nanoparticles of these mixed-oxides and nickel oxide for anode fabrication. X-ray powder diffraction was used to investigate the crystal structure and lattice parameters of the synthesized materials. Particle size distribution, morphology and chemical composition were investigated using transmission electron microscope (TEM). The nanoparticles were found to possess pit-like defects of average size 2 nm after subjecting the spray-dried material to heat treatment at 700 °C for 2 h in air. A novel electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) quantification technique for determining the Pr and Gd concentrations in the mixed oxides was developed. Nano-scale compositional heterogeneity was observed in these materials. The later part of the dissertation focuses mainly on in situ investigations of the anode materials under a H2 environment in the ETEM. Nano-scale changes in the stand-alone ceramic components of the cermet anode were first investigated. Particle size and composition of the individual nanoparticles of Pr-doped ceria (PDC) were found to affect their reducibility in H2 gas. Upon reduction, amorphization of the nanoparticles was observed and was linked to the presence of pit-like defects in the spray-dried material. Investigation of metal-ceramic interactions in the Ni-loaded PDC nanoparticles indicated a localized reduction of Ce in the vicinity of the Ni/PDC interface at 420 °C. Formation of a reduction zone around the interface was attributed to H spillover which was observed directly in the ETEM. Preliminary results on the fabrication of model SOFCs and in situ behavior of Ni/Gd-doped ceria anodes have been presented.

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Date Created
2011

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Synthesis of one-dimensional and hyperbranched nanomaterials for lithium-ion battery solid electrolytes

Description

Lithium-ion batteries can fail and catch fire when overcharged, exposed to high temperatures or short-circuited due to the highly flammable organic liquid used in the electrolyte. Using inorganic solid electrolyte materials can potentially improve the safety factor. Additionally, nanostructured electrolyte

Lithium-ion batteries can fail and catch fire when overcharged, exposed to high temperatures or short-circuited due to the highly flammable organic liquid used in the electrolyte. Using inorganic solid electrolyte materials can potentially improve the safety factor. Additionally, nanostructured electrolyte materials may further enhanced performance by taking advantage of their large aspect ratio. In this work, the synthesis of two promising nanostructured solid electrolyte materials was explored. Amorphous lithium niobate nanowires were synthesized through the decomposition of a niobium-containing complex in a structure-directing solvent using a reflux method. Lithium lanthanum titanate was obtained via solid state reaction with titanium oxide nanowires as the titanium precursor, but the nanowire morphology could not be preserved due to high temperature sintering. Hyperbranched potassium lanthanum titanate was synthesized through hydrothermal route. This was the first time that hyperbranched nanowires with perovskite structure were made without any catalyst or substrate. This result has the potential to be applied to other perovskite materials.

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2012

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

Description

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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Characterization of MBE-grown semiconductor materials for photovoltaic applications

Description

The research described in this dissertation involved the use of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to characterize II-VI and III-V compound semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) and dilute-nitride alloys grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and intended for photovoltaic applications. The morphology

The research described in this dissertation involved the use of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to characterize II-VI and III-V compound semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) and dilute-nitride alloys grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and intended for photovoltaic applications. The morphology of CdTe QDs prepared by the post-annealing MBE method were characterized by various microscopy techniques including high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM), and high-angle annular-dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF-STEM). Extensive observations revealed that the of QD shapes were not well-defined, and the QD size and spatial distribution were not determined by the amount of CdTe deposition. These results indicated that the formation of II-VI QDs using a post-annealing treatment did not follow the conventional growth mechanism for III-V and IV-IV materials. The structural properties of dilute-nitride GaAsNx films grown using plasma-assisted MBE were characterized by TEM and HAADF-STEM. A significant amount of the nitrogen incorporated into the dilute nitride films was found to be interstitial, and that fluctuations in local nitrogen composition also occurred during growth. Post-growth partial relaxation of strain resulted in the formation of {110}-oriented microcracks in the sample with the largest substitutional nitrogen composition. Single- and multi-layered InAs QDs grown on GaAsSb/GaAs composite substrates were investigated using HR-TEM and HAADF-STEM. Correlation between the structural and optoelectronic properties revealed that the GaAsSb barrier layers had played an important role in tuning the energy-band alignments but without affecting the overall structural morphology. However, according to both XRD measurement and electron microscopy the densities of dislocations increased as the number of QD layers built up. An investigation of near-wetting layer-free InAs QDs incorporated with AlAs/GaAs spacer layers was carried out. The microscopy observations revealed that both embedded and non-embedded near-wetting layer-free InAs QDs did not have well-defined shapes unlike conventional InAs QDs. According to AFM analysis and plan-view TEM characterization, the InAs QDs incorporated with spacer layers had smaller dot density and more symmetrical larger sizes with an apparent bimodal size distribution (two distinct families of large and small dots) in comparison with conventional InAs QDs grown without any spacer layer.

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Date Created
2014

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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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2012

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Characterization of HgCdTe and related materials and substrates for third generation infrared detectors

Description

HgCdTe is currently the dominant material for infrared sensing and imaging, and is usually grown on lattice-matched bulk CdZnTe (CZT) substrates. There have been significant recent efforts to identify alternative substrates to CZT as well as alternative detector materials to

HgCdTe is currently the dominant material for infrared sensing and imaging, and is usually grown on lattice-matched bulk CdZnTe (CZT) substrates. There have been significant recent efforts to identify alternative substrates to CZT as well as alternative detector materials to HgCdTe. In this dissertation research, a wide range of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) imaging and analytical techniques was used in the characterization of epitaxial HgCdTe and related materials and substrates for third generation IR detectors. ZnTe layers grown on Si substrates are considered to be promising candidates for lattice-matched, large-area, and low-cost composite substrates for deposition of II-VI and III-V compound semiconductors with lattice constants near 6.1 Å. After optimizing MBE growth conditions including substrate pretreatment prior to film growth, as well as nucleation and growth temperatures, thick ZnTe/Si films with high crystallinity, low defect density, and excellent surface morphology were achieved. Changes in the Zn/Te flux ratio used during growth were also investigated. Small-probe microanalysis confirmed that a small amount of As was present at the ZnTe/Si interface. A microstructural study of HgCdTe/CdTe/GaAs (211)B and CdTe/GaAs (211)B heterostructures grown using MBE was carried out. High quality MBE-grown CdTe on GaAs(211)B substrates was demonstrated to be a viable composite substrate platform for HgCdTe growth. In addition, analysis of interfacial misfit dislocations and residual strain showed that the CdTe/GaAs interface was fully relaxed. In the case of HgCdTe/CdTe/ GaAs(211)B, thin HgTe buffer layers between HgCdTe and CdTe were also investigated for improving the HgCdTe crystal quality. A set of ZnTe layers epitaxially grown on GaSb(211)B substrates using MBE was studied using high resolution X-ray diffraction (HRXRD) measurements and TEM characterization in order to investigate conditions for defect-free growth. HRXRD results gave critical thickness estimates between 350 nm and 375 nm, in good agreement with theoretical predictions. Moreover, TEM results confirmed that ZnTe layers with thicknesses of 350 nm had highly coherent interfaces and very low dislocation densities, unlike samples with the thicker ZnTe layers.

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Date Created
2012

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Characterization of magnetic nanostructures using off-axis electron holography

Description

This dissertation research has involved microscopic characterization of magnetic nanostructures using off-axis electron holography and Lorentz microscopy. The nanostructures investigated have included Co nanoparticles (NPs), Au/Fe/GaAs shell/core nanowires (NWs), carbon spirals with magnetic cores, magnetic nanopillars, Ni-Zn-Co spinel ferrite and

This dissertation research has involved microscopic characterization of magnetic nanostructures using off-axis electron holography and Lorentz microscopy. The nanostructures investigated have included Co nanoparticles (NPs), Au/Fe/GaAs shell/core nanowires (NWs), carbon spirals with magnetic cores, magnetic nanopillars, Ni-Zn-Co spinel ferrite and CoFe/Pd multilayers. The studies have confirmed the capability of holography to describe the behavior of magnetic structures at the nanoscale.

The phase changes caused by the fringing fields of chains consisting of Co NPs were measured and calculated. The difference between chains with different numbers of Co NPs followed the trend indicated by calculations. Holography studies of Au/Fe/GaAs NWs grown on (110) GaAs substrates with rotationally non-uniform coating confirmed that Fe was present in the shell and that the shell behaved as a bar magnet. No fringing field was observed from NWs with cylindrical coating grown on (111)B GaAs substrates. The most likely explanation is that magnetic fields are confined within the shells and form closed loops. The multiple-magnetic-domain structure of iron carbide cores in carbon spirals was imaged using phase maps of the fringing fields. The strength and range of this fringing field was insufficient for manipulating the carbon spirals with an external applied magnetic field. No magnetism was revealed for CoPd/Fe/CoPd magnetic nanopillars. Degaussing and MFM scans ruled out the possibility that saturated magnetization and sample preparation had degraded the anisotropy, and the magnetism, respectively. The results suggested that these nanopillars were not suitable as candidates for prototypical bit information storage devices.

Observations of Ni-Zn-Co spinel ferrite thin films in plan-view geometry indicated a multigrain magnetic domain structure and the magnetic fields were oriented in-plane only with no preferred magnetization distribution. This domain structure helps explain this ferrite's high permeability at high resonance frequency, which is an unusual character.

Perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA) of CoFe/Pd multilayers was revealed using holography. Detailed microscopic characterization showed structural factors such as layer waviness and interdiffusion that could contribute to degradation of the PMA. However, these factors are overwhelmed by the dominant effect of the CoFe layer thickness, and can be ignored when considering magnetic domain structure.

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Date Created
2015

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Characterization of HgCdTe and related materials for third generation infrared detectors

Description

Hg1-xCdxTe (MCT) has historically been the primary material used for infrared detectors. Recently, alternative substrates for MCT growth such as Si, as well as alternative infrared materials such as Hg1-xCdxSe, have been explored. This dissertation involves characterization of Hg-based infrared

Hg1-xCdxTe (MCT) has historically been the primary material used for infrared detectors. Recently, alternative substrates for MCT growth such as Si, as well as alternative infrared materials such as Hg1-xCdxSe, have been explored. This dissertation involves characterization of Hg-based infrared materials for third generation infrared detectors using a wide range of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques.

A microstructural study on HgCdTe/CdTe heterostructures grown by MBE on Si (211) substrates showed a thin ZnTe layer grown between CdTe and Si to mediate the large lattice mismatch of 19.5%. Observations showed large dislocation densities at the CdTe/ZnTe/Si (211) interfaces, which dropped off rapidly away from the interface. Growth of a thin HgTe buffer layer between HgCdTe and CdTe layers seemed to improve the HgCdTe layer quality by blocking some defects.

A second study investigated the correlation of etch pits and dislocations in as-grown and thermal-cycle-annealed (TCA) HgCdTe (211) films. For as-grown samples, pits with triangular and fish-eye shapes were associated with Frank partial and perfect dislocations, respectively. Skew pits were determined to have a more complex nature. TCA reduced the etch-pit density by 72%. Although TCA processing eliminated the fish-eye pits, dislocations reappeared in shorter segments in the TCA samples. Large pits were observed in both as-grown and TCA samples, but the nature of any defects associated with these pits in the as-grown samples is unclear.

Microstructural studies of HgCdSe revealed large dislocation density at ZnTe/Si(211) interfaces, which dropped off markedly with ZnTe thickness. Atomic-resolution STEM images showed that the large lattice mismatch at the ZnTe/Si interface was accommodated through {111}-type stacking faults. A detailed analysis showed that the stacking faults were inclined at angles of 19.5 and 90 degrees at both ZnTe/Si and HgCdSe/ZnTe interfaces. These stacking faults were associated with Shockley and Frank partial dislocations, respectively. Initial attempts to delineate individual dislocations by chemical etching revealed that while the etchants successfully attacked defective areas, many defects in close proximity to the pits were unaffected.

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Date Created
2017