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  1. Abstract

    BaTiS3, a quasi-1D complex chalcogenide, has gathered considerable scientific and technological interest due to its giant optical anisotropy and electronic phase transitions. However, the synthesis of high-quality BaTiS3crystals, particularly those featuring crystal sizes of millimeters or larger, remains a challenge. Here, we investigate the growth of BaTiS3crystals utilizing a molten salt flux of either potassium iodide, or a mixture of barium chloride and barium iodide. The crystals obtained through this method exhibit a substantial increase in volume compared to those synthesized via the chemical vapor transport method, while preserving their intrinsic optical and electronic properties. Our flux growth method provides a promising route toward the production of high-quality, large-scale single crystals of BaTiS3, which will greatly facilitate advanced characterizations of BaTiS3and its practical applications that require large crystal dimensions. Additionally, our approach offers an alternative synthetic route for other emerging complex chalcogenides.

    Graphical Abstract

     
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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2025
  3. Oxy-combustion systems result in enriched CO 2 in exhaust gases; however, the utilization of the concentrated CO 2 stream from oxy-combustion is limited by remnant O 2 . CH 4 oxidation using Pd catalysts has been found to have high O 2 -removal efficiency. Here, the effect of excess CO 2 in the feed stream on O 2 removal with CH 4 oxidation is investigated by combining experimental and theoretical approaches. Experimental results reveal complete CH 4 oxidation without any side-products, and a monotonic increase in the rate of CO 2 generation with an increase in CO 2 concentration in the feed stream. Density-functional theory calculations show that high surface coverage of CO 2 on Pd leads to a reduction in the activation energy for the initial dissociation of CH 4 into CH 3 and H, and also the subsequent oxidation reactions. A CO 2 -rich environment in oxy-combustion systems is therefore beneficial for the reduction of oxygen in exhaust gases. 
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  4. The recent observation of ferroelectricity in the metastable phases of binary metal oxides, such as HfO2, ZrO2, Hf0.5Zr0.5O2, and Ga2O3, has garnered a lot of attention. These metastable ferroelectric phases are typically stabilized using epitaxial strain, alloying, or defect engineering. Here, we propose that hole doping plays a key role in the stabilization of polar phases in binary metal oxides. Using first-principles density-functional-theory calculations, we show that holes in these oxides mainly occupy one of the two oxygen sublattices. This hole localization, which is more pronounced in the polar phase than in the nonpolar phase, lowers the electrostatic energy of the system, and makes the polar phase more stable at sufficiently large concentrations. We demonstrate that this electrostatic mechanism is responsible for stabilization of the ferroelectric phase of HfO2 aliovalently doped with elements that introduce holes to the system, such as La and N. Finally, we show that spontaneous polarization in HfO2 is robust to hole doping, and a large polarization persists even under a high concentration of holes. 
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  5. Electrostatic capacitors are foundational components of advanced electronics and high-power electrical systems owing to their ultrafast charging-discharging capability. Ferroelectric materials offer high maximum polarization, but high remnant polarization has hindered their effective deployment in energy storage applications. Previous methodologies have encountered problems because of the deteriorated crystallinity of the ferroelectric materials. We introduce an approach to control the relaxation time using two-dimensional (2D) materials while minimizing energy loss by using 2D/3D/2D heterostructures and preserving the crystallinity of ferroelectric 3D materials. Using this approach, we were able to achieve an energy density of 191.7 joules per cubic centimeter with an efficiency greater than 90%. This precise control over relaxation time holds promise for a wide array of applications and has the potential to accelerate the development of highly efficient energy storage systems. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 19, 2025
  6. Materials with metastable phases can exhibit vastly different properties from their thermodynamically favored counterparts. Methods to synthesize metastable phases without the need for high-temperature or high-pressure conditions would facilitate their widespread use. We report on the electrochemical growth of microcrystals of bismuth selenide, Bi2Se3, in the metastable orthorhombic phase at room temperature in aqueous solution. Rather than direct epitaxy with the growth substrate, the spontaneous formation of a seed layer containing nanocrystals of cubic BiSe enforces the metastable phase. We first used single-crystal silicon substrates with a range of resistivities and different orientations to identify the conditions needed to produce the metastable phase. When the applied potential during electrochemical growth is positive of the reduction potential of Bi3+, an initial, Bi-rich seed layer forms. Electron microscopy imaging and diffraction reveal that the seed layer consists of nanocrystals of cubic BiSe embedded within an amorphous matrix of Bi and Se. Using density functional theory calculations, we show that epitaxial matching between cubic BiSe and orthorhombic Bi2Se3 can help stabilize the metastable orthorhombic phase over the thermodynamically stable rhombohedral phase. The spontaneous formation of the seed layer enables us to grow orthorhombic Bi2Se3 on a variety of substrates including single-crystal silicon with different orientations, polycrystalline fluorine-doped tin oxide, and polycrystalline gold. The ability to stabilize the metastable phase through room-temperature electrodeposition in aqueous solution without requiring a single-crystal substrate broadens the range of applications for this semiconductor in optoelectronic and electrochemical devices. 
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  7. Abstract

    Electrical modulation of magnetic states in single-phase multiferroic materials, using domain-wall magnetoelectric (ME) coupling, can be enhanced substantially by controlling the population density of the ferroelectric (FE) domain walls during polarization switching. In this work, we investigate the domain-wall ME coupling in multiferroic h-YbFeO3thin films, in which the FE domain walls induce clamped antiferromagnetic (AFM) domain walls with reduced magnetization magnitude. Simulation according to the phenomenological theory indicates that the domain-wall ME effect is dramatically enhanced when the separation between the FE domain walls shrinks below the characteristic width of the clamped AFM domain walls during the ferroelectric switching. Experimentally, we show that while the magnetization magnitude remains same for both the positive and the negative saturation polarization states, there is evidence of magnetization reduction at the coercive voltages. These results suggest that the domain-wall ME effect is viable for electrical control of magnetization.

     
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