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The formation and morphological evolution of germanides formed in a ternary Ni/Ta-interlayer/Ge system were examined by ex situ and in situ annealing experiments. The Ni germanide film formed in the Ni/Ta-interlayer/Ge system maintained continuity up to 550°C, whereas agglomeration of the Ni germanide occurred in the Ni/Ge system without Ta-interlayer. Through microstructural and chemical analysis of the Ni/Ta-interlayer/Ge system during and after in situ annealing in a transmission electron microscope, it was confirmed that the Ta atoms remained uniformly on the top of the newly formed Ni germanide layer during the diffusion reaction. Consequently, the agglomeration of the Ni germanide film was retarded and the thermal stability was improved by the Ta incorporation.
The oxidation mechanism and thermal stability of nickel oxide (NiO)/carbon nanotube (CNT) composites were investigated by examining composites with different NiO contents by thermogravimetric analysis and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). NiO acts as a catalyst in the oxidation of CNT in the composite. CNTs can be oxidized, even in a vacuum, by reducing NiO to nickel at temperatures lower than the normal oxidation temperature of CNTs. This phase transition was confirmed directly by in situ heating TEM observations. In air, reduction by CNT occurs simultaneously with reoxidation by gaseous O2 molecules, and NiO maintains its phase. The thermal stability decreased with increasing NiO content because of defects in the CNT generated by the NiO loading.
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