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- Applied Physics Letters
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- National Science Foundation
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Mechanical, thermal, and electrochemical properties of Pr doped ceria from wafer curvature measurementsThis work demonstrates, for the first time, that a variety of disparate and technologically-relevent thermal, mechanical, and electrochemical oxygen-exchange material properties can all be obtained from in situ , current-collector-free wafer curvature measurements. Specifically, temperature or oxygen partial pressure induced changes in the curvature of 230 nm thick (100)-oriented Pr 0.1 Ce 0.9 O 1.95−x (10PCO) films atop 200 μm thick single crystal yttria stabilized zirconia or magnesium oxide substrates were used to measure the biaxial modulus, Young's modulus, thermal expansion coefficient, thermo-chemical expansion coefficient, oxygen nonstoichiometry, chemical oxygen surface exchange coefficient, oxygen surface exchange resistance, thermal stress, chemical stress, thermal strain, and chemical strain of the model mixed ionic electronic conducting material 10PCO. The (100)-oriented thin film 10PCO thermal expansion coefficient, thermo-chemical expansion coefficient, oxygen nonstoichiometry, and Young's modulus (which is essentially constant, at ∼200 MPa, over the entire 280–700 °C temperature range in air) measured here were similar to those from other bulk and thin film 10PCO studies. In addition, the measured PCO10 oxygen surface coefficients were in agreement with those reported by other in situ , current-collector-free techniques. Taken together, this work highlights the advantages of using a sample's mechanical response, instead of the more traditional electricalmore »
Thin-film solid-state interfacial dealloying (thin-film SSID) is an emerging technique to design nanoarchitecture thin films. The resulting controllable 3D bicontinuous nanostructure is promising for a range of applications including catalysis, sensing, and energy storage. Using a multiscale microscopy approach, we combine X-ray and electron nano-tomography to demonstrate that besides dense bicontinuous nanocomposites, thin-film SSID can create a very fine (5–15 nm) nanoporous structure. Not only is such a fine feature among one of the finest fabrications by metal-agent dealloying, but a multilayer thin-film design enables creating nanoporous films on a wider range of substrates for functional applications. Through multimodal synchrotron diffraction and spectroscopy analysis with which the materials’ chemical and structural evolution in this novel approach is characterized in details, we further deduce that the contribution of change in entropy should be considered to explain the phase evolution in metal-agent dealloying, in addition to the commonly used enthalpy term in prior studies. The discussion is an important step leading towards better explaining the underlying design principles for controllable 3D nanoarchitecture, as well as exploring a wider range of elemental and substrate selections for new applications.
Micron-gap spacers with ultrahigh thermal resistance and mechanical robustness for direct energy conversion
In thermionic energy converters, the absolute efficiency can be increased up to 40% if space-charge losses are eliminated by using a sub-10-µm gap between the electrodes. One practical way to achieve such small gaps over large device areas is to use a stiff and thermally insulating spacer between the two electrodes. We report on the design, fabrication and characterization of thin-film alumina-based spacers that provided robust 3–8 μm gaps between planar substrates and had effective thermal conductivities less than those of aerogels. The spacers were fabricated on silicon molds and, after release, could be manually transferred onto any substrate. In large-scale compression testing, they sustained compressive stresses of 0.4–4 MPa without fracture. Experimentally, the thermal conductance was 10–30 mWcm−2K−1and, surprisingly, independent of film thickness (100–800 nm) and spacer height. To explain this independence, we developed a model that includes the pressure-dependent conductance of locally distributed asperities and sparse contact points throughout the spacer structure, indicating that only 0.1–0.5% of the spacer-electrode interface was conducting heat. Our spacers show remarkable functionality over multiple length scales, providing insulating micrometer gaps over centimeter areas using nanoscale films. These innovations can be applied to other technologies requiring high thermal resistance in small spaces, such as thermophotovoltaic converters,more »
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