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Cerium oxide nanoparticles (CNPs) are of significant interest to the scientific community due to their widespread applications in a variety of fields. It is proposed that size-dependent variations in the extent of Ce3+ and Ce4+ oxidation states of cerium in CNPs determine the performance of CNPs in application environments. To obtain greater molecular and structural understanding of chemical state transformations previously reported for ceria of ≈3 nm nanoparticles (CNPs) in response to changing ambient conditions, micro-XRD and Raman measurements were carried out for various solution conditions. The particles were observed to undergo a reversible transformation from a defective ceria structure to a non-ceria amorphous oxyhydroxide/peroxide phase in response to the addition of 30% hydrogen peroxide. For CNPs made up of ∼8 nm crystallites, a partial transformation was observed, and no transformation was observed for CNPs made up of ∼40 nm crystallites. This observation of differences in size-dependent transition behavior may help explain the benefits of using smaller CNPs in applications requiring regenerative property.
Amorphous zinc tin oxide (ZTO) was investigated to determine the effect of deposition and postannealing conditions on film structure, composition, surface contamination, and thin-film transistor (TFT) performance. X-ray diffraction results indicated that the ZTO films remain amorphous even after annealing to 600 °C. Rutherford backscattering spectrometry indicated that the bulk Zn:Sn ratio of the sputter-deposited films were slightly tin rich compared to the composition of the ceramic sputter target. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy indicated that residual surface contamination depended strongly on the sample postannealing conditions where water, carbonate, and hydroxyl species were adsorbed to the surface. Electrical characterization of ZTO TFTs indicated that the best devices had mobilities of 17 cm2/Vs, threshold voltages of −1.5 V, subthreshold slopes of 0.9 V/dec, turn-on voltages of −12 V, and on-to-off ratio of >107. Annealing ZTO in vacuum assisted in the removal of adsorbed species, which may reduce defects in the films and improve device performance.
The current demand in the automobile industry is in the control of air-fuel mixture in the combustion engine of automobiles. Oxygen partial pressure can be used as an input parameter for regulating or controlling systems in order to optimize the combustion process. Our goal is to identify and optimize the material system that would potentially function as the active sensing material for such a device that monitors oxygen partial pressure in these systems. We have used thin film samaria doped ceria (SDC) as the sensing material for the sensor operation, exploiting the fact that at high temperatures, oxygen vacancies generated due to samarium doping act as conducting medium for oxygen ions which hop through the vacancies from one side to the other contributing to an electrical signal. We have recently established that 6 atom % Sm doping in ceria films has optimum conductivity. Based on this observation, we have studied the variation in the overall conductivity of 6 atom % samaria doped ceria thin films as a function of thickness in the range of 50 nm to 300 nm at a fixed bias voltage of 2 volts. A direct proportionality in the increase in the overall conductivity is observed with the increase in sensing film thickness. For a range of oxygen pressure values from 0.001 Torr to 100 Torr, a tolerable hysteresis error, good dynamic response and a response time of less than 10 seconds was observed.
Polished tiles (7×7×2 mm3) of Nd-bearing zirconolite were fabricated and then some were irradiated on both large faces with 3 MeV or 2 MeV Au2+ ions (total fluence of ≥ 1 × 1015 ions/cm2) in order to render the zirconolite amorphous and so simulate displacement damage caused by alpha decay. Both the irradiated and non-irradiated tiles were then subjected to static dissolution tests in 0.01M nitric solution (pH2) at 90 C, for periods of 0–1, 1–7, 7–14 and 14–28 days. It was found that radiation damage did not affect the dissolution rate of zirconolite as indicated by the elemental leach rates of Nd, Ti, Ca and Al. The results of solution analyses are consistent with those obtained from X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) in that the Ca, Nd, Ti and Al concentrations in the top surface layer (< 5 nm) all decreased with respect to that of Zr after dissolution testing, and the leached surface composition of the non-irradiated zirconolite is very similar to that of the two irradiated specimens. The implications of these results are discussed in the context of previous work.
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