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Development of a novel TiNbTa material potentially suitable for bone replacement implants

Chicardi, E; Gutierrez-Gonzalez, CF; Sayagues, MJ; Garcia-Garrido, C
Materials & Design, 145 (2018) 88-96


A novel (beta + gamma)-TiNbTa alloy has been developed by a combined low energy mechanical alloying (LEMA) and pulsed electric current sintering process (PECS). Microstructurally, this material presents interesting characteristics, such as a submicrometric range of particle size, a body-centered phase (beta-TiNbTa) and, mainly, a novel face-centered cubic Ti-based alloy (gamma-TiNbTa) not previously reported. Related to mechanical performance, the novel (beta + gamma)-TiNbTa shows a lower E (49 +/- 3 GPa) and an outstanding yield strength (sigma(y) 1860 MPa). This combination of original microstructure and properties makes to the (beta + gamma)-TiNbTa a novel material potentially suitable as biomaterial to fabricate bone replacement implants, avoiding the undesirable and detrimental stressshielding problem and even the usual damage on the mechanical strength of Ti-based foams biomaterials. 

Mayo, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.matdes.2018.02.042

Multicomponent Au/Cu-ZnO-Al2O3 catalysts: Robust materials for clean hydrogen production

Santos, JL; Reina, TR; Ivanov, I; Penkova, A; Ivanova, S; Tabakova, T; Centeno, MA; Idakiev, V; Odriozola, JA
Applied Catalysis A-General, 558 (2018) 91-98


Clean hydrogen production via WGS is a key step in the development of hydrogen fuel processors. Herein, we have designed a new family of highly effective catalysts for low-temperature WGS reaction based on gold modified copper-zinc mixed oxides. Their performance was controlled by catalysts' composition and the Au-Cu synergy. The utilization of hydrotalcite precursors leads to an optimal microstructure that ensures excellent Au and Cu dispersion and favors their strong interaction. From the application perspective these materials succeed to overcome the major drawback of the commercial WGS catalysts: resistance towards start/stop operations, a mandatory requisite for H-2-powered mobile devices.

Mayo, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apcata.2018.04.002

Engineering of III-Nitride Semiconductors on Low Temperature Co-fired Ceramics

Manuel, JM; Jimenez, JJ; Morales, FM; Lacroix, B; Santos, AJ; Garcia, R; Blanco, E; Dominguez, M; Ramirez, M; Beltran, AM; Alexandrov, D; Tot, J; Dubreuil, R; Videkov, V; Andreev, S; Tzaneva, B; Bartsch, H; Breiling, J; Pezoldt, J; Fischer, M; Muller, J
Scientific Reports, 8 (2018) art. 6879


This work presents results in the field of advanced substrate solutions in order to achieve high crystalline quality group-III nitrides based heterostructures for high frequency and power devices or for sensor applications. With that objective, Low Temperature Co-fired Ceramics has been used, as a non-crystalline substrate. Structures like these have never been developed before, and for economic reasons will represent a groundbreaking material in these fields of Electronic. In this sense, the report presents the characterization through various techniques of three series of specimens where GaN was deposited on this ceramic composite, using different buffer layers, and a singular metal-organic chemical vapor deposition related technique for low temperature deposition. Other single crystalline ceramic-based templates were also utilized as substrate materials, for comparison purposes.

Mayo, 2018 | DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-25416-6

Crystallization Kinetics of Nanocrystalline Materials by Combined X-ray Diffraction and Differential Scanning Calorimetry Experiments

Gil-Gonzalez, E; Perejon, A; Sanchez-Jimenez, PE; Medina-Carrasco, S; Kupcik, J; Subrt, J; Criado, JM; Perez-Maqueda, LA
Crystal Growth & Design, 18 (2018) 3107-3116


Crystallization is one key aspect in the resulting properties of nanocrystalline functional materials, and much effort has been devoted to understanding the physical mechanisms involved in these processes as a function of temperature. The main problems associated with crystallization kinetic studies come from the limitations of the employed techniques, and the obtained results may vary significantly depending on the choice of the measurement method. In this work, a complete description of the thermal crystallization event of nanocrystalline BiFeO3 has been performed by combining the information obtained from three different experimental techniques: in situ high-temperature X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, and differential scanning calorimetry. Interestingly, the kinetic analysis of the X-ray diffraction and differential scanning calorimetry data yields almost identical results, although the physical properties measured by both techniques are different. This allows the unambiguous determination of the kinetic parameters. The importance of a proper definition of the conversion degree, which is limited by the employed measurement technique, is also highlighted.

Mayo, 2018 | DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.8b00241

High-temperature compressive creep of novel fine-grained orthorhombic ZrO2 ceramics stabilized with 12 mol% Ta doping

Sponchia, G; Moshtaghioun, BM; Riello, P; Benedetti, A; Gomez-Garcia, D; Dominguez-Rodriguez, A; Ortiz, AL
Journal of the European Ceramic Society, 38 (2018) 2445-2448


A novel fine-grained orthorhombic ZrO2 ceramic stabilized with 12 mol% Ta doping was fabricated by spark plasma sintering from home-made powders, and its high-temperature mechanical properties evaluated for the first time by compressive creep tests in both Ar and air. It was found that the high-temperature plasticity of the ceramic deformed in Ar, under which the Ta-doped orthorhombic ZrO2 is a black suboxide with abundant oxygen vacancies in its crystal structure, is controlled by grain boundary sliding (stress exponent similar to 2, and activation energy similar to 780-800 kJ/mol). However, the high-temperature plasticity of the ceramic deformed in air, under which the Ta-doped orthorhombic ZrO2 is a white oxide due to the elimination in situ of oxygen vacancies, is controlled by recovery creep (stress exponent 3, and activation energy similar to 750 kJ/mol). It was also observed that black Ta-doped orthorhombic ZrO2 is more creep resistant than its white counterpart with the same grain size, and that the former deforms as the more conventional Y2O3-stabilized ZrO2 does.

Mayo, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jeurceramsoc.2017.12.055

Fabrication and characterization of WC-HEA cemented carbide based on the CoCrFeNiMn high entropy alloy

Velo, IL; Gotor, FJ; Alcala, MD; Real, C; Cordoba, JM
Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 746 (2018) 1-8


A high entropy alloy (HEA, CoCrFeNiMn) synthesized by mechanical alloying was used as the binder for the densification of WC by a pressureless high temperature procedure. Three different WC were used by modifying its microstructure with a high energy ball milling treatment. The alloy content in the HEA-WC mixture was varied from 10 to 30% vol. The microstructure and properties of the sintered composites were studied by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and microindentation.

Mayo, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jallcom.2018.02.292

Influence of the Mn content on the TiNbxMn alloys with a novel fcc structure

Chicardi, E; Aguilar, C; Sayagues, MJ; Garcia-Garrido, C
Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 746 (2018) 601-610


This work studies the structural evolution of TiNbxMn alloys (x: 0-12 wt%) synthetized by mechanical alloying in a planetary ball mill with different milling times between 1 h and 120 h. The specimens were characterized by X-ray diffraction patterns, scanning and transmission electron microscopies and Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. It was observed an evolution of the alloys developed from the raw Ti, Nb and Mn elements to bcc-TiNbxMn alloys and, finally, novel fcc-TiNbxMn alloys, with Fm3m space group symmetry, not previously observed. The presence of Mn promotes other interesting effects: a) the decreasing of the crystallite and the particle sizes, reaching values close to 4 nm and 400 nm, respectively, b) the partial amorphization of the fcc-TiNbxMn alloys due to the combined effect of the Mechanical Alloying and the difference of Mn atomic size in comparison with Ti and Nb and c) the presence of Mn that decreases the Fe amount (from milling media) in the as-milled powders. 

Mayo, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jallcom.2018.02.306

Effects of additives on the synthesis of TiCxN1-x by a solid-gas mechanically induced self-sustaining reaction

Chicardi, E; Gotor, FJ; Alcala, MD; Cordoba, JM
Ceramics International, 44 (2018) 7605-7610


The synthesis of TiCxN1-x from Ti/C mixtures in a N-2 atmosphere performed in a high-energy planetary mill was used as example to study the influence of the use of additives in mechanically induced self-sustaining reaction (MSR) processes. In particular, the effect of the addition of TiN, TiC, Si3N4 and SiC was analyzed. The self-sustaining reaction was extinguished when additive contents of 50, 40, 40 and 30 wt% for TiN, TiC, Si3N4 and SiC, respectively, were employed. These additives cannot be regarded as real inert since they served as an extra solid source for nitrogen and carbon, modifying the final stoichiometry of the TiCxN1-x phase. The adiabatic temperature (T-ad) determined for the mixtures with no MSR effect was well above the empirical limit value of 1800 K adopted as criterion for the occurrence of the self-propagating high-temperature synthesis (SHS) process. The ignition time (t(ig)) of the MSR process was practically invariant for low additive contents (approximately 50 min) and tended to increase up to maximum values of 85-95 min for the larger additive contents.

Mayo, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.ceramint.2018.01.179

Study of the effectiveness of the flocculation-photocatalysis in the treatment of wastewater coming from dairy industries

Murcia, J.J., Hernández-Laverde, M., Rojas, Muñoz, E., Navío, J.A., Hidalgo, M.C.
Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry, 358 (2018) 256-264


The aim of the present work was to evaluate the effectiveness of flocculation-photocatalysis as combined processes in the treatment of dairy industries wastewater. Different commercial and lab prepared flocculants and photocatalysts were evaluated. All the materials prepared were extensively characterized. Commercial materials presented the best physicochemical properties and performance in the treatment of the studied wastewater. On one hand, all the photocatalysts evaluated showed bactericidal activity for E. Coli, total coliforms and other enterobacteriaceae. Total elimination of E. coli was obtained by using commercial TiO2 P25 Evonik, under 120 W/m2 of UV–vis light intensity and 5 h of total illumination time. Other species of bacteria remained after treatment under these conditions. It was also found that the highest light intensity of 120 W/m2 led to increase the Chemical Oxygen Demand and Total Organic Carbon in the samples treated, it can be due to the faster formation of new organic compounds as intermediaries during the photocatalytic reactions at the highest photonic flux. Flocculation pre-treatment of the wastewater samples led to improve the effectiveness of the photocatalytic treatment; thus, the combination of flocculation-photocatalysis treatments at low light intensity of 30 W/m2 leads to achieve the total elimination of E. coli, and under this intensity the elimination of total coliforms and other enterobacteriaceae increased 5.48% compared to the photocatalytic treatment alone. These treatment conditions led to comply the Colombian regulations for dairy wastewater.

Mayo, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jphotochem.2018.03.034

Photo-induced processes on Nb2O5 synthesized by different procedures

Jaramillo-Páez, C., Sánchez-Fernández, F.J., Navío, J.A., Hidalgo, M.C.
Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry, 359 (2018) 40-52


The properties of Nb2O5 strongly depend on its synthesis procedure as well as the conditions of ulterior thermal treatment. We report the synthesis of Nb2O5 powders prepared by sol-gel precipitation method using niobium(V) ethoxide as precursor. Two chemical routes were chosen: the presence of tryethyl amine (TEA) as precipitant/template agent, or the oxidant peroxide method. In addition, microwave-assisted activation was also used. The as-prepared samples by the above procedures were amorphous. Structural changes upon heating from room temperature up to 800 °C were investigated by X-ray powder diffraction technique combined with thermogravimetric analysis. The sequential thermal treatment up to 800 °C promotes the crystallization of hexagonal phase to orthorhombic phase whereas the ulterior cooling to room temperature lead to a mixture of both phases. Samples calcined at selected temperatures of either 600 °C or 800 °C for 2 h, were characterized by XRD, SEM, N2-adsorption and diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS). The synthetic approach routes as well as the combined microwave activation followed by ulterior thermal treatment lead to changes not only on particle size but also on the textural properties of the synthesized catalysts. The catalysts synthesized have been evaluated using Rhodamine B (RhB) as a substrate, under both UV and visible lighting conditions. None of the catalysts synthesized showed activity in the visible. Under UV-illumination conditions, some of the catalysts exhibited a relatively low photoactivity in the degradation of RhB, which is associated with a photo-sensitizing effect. However, the addition of Ag+ ions considerably increased the activity of all the catalysts in the degradation of RhB under UV-illumination conditions. A mechanism is proposed to explain the photo-induced processes obtained, leaving the door open to the possible implications of the observed results in relation to the interaction of RhB dye with noble metal nanoparticles such as silver.

Mayo, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jphotochem.2018.03.040

In Vitro Comparative Study of Oxygen Plasma Treated Poly(Lactic-Co-Glycolic) (PLGA) Membranes and Supported Nanostructured Oxides for Guided Bone Regeneration Processes

Torres-Lagares, D; Castellanos-Cosano, L; Serrera-Figallo, MA; Lopez-Santos, C; Barranco, A; Rodriguez-Gonzalez-Elipe, A; Gutierrez-Perez, JL
Materials, 11 (2018) art. 752


(1) Background: The use of physical barriers to prevent the invasion of gingival and connective tissue cells into bone cavities during the healing process is called guided bone regeneration. The objective of this in-vitro study was to compare the growth of human osteoblasts on Poly(Lactic-co-Glycolic) (PLGA) membranes modified with oxygen plasma and Hydroxyapatite (HA), silicon dioxide (SiO2), and titanium dioxide (TiO2) composite nanoparticles, respectively. (2) Methods: All the membranes received a common treatment with oxygen plasma and were subsequently treated with HA nanostructured coatings (n = 10), SiO2 (n = 10) and TiO2 (n = 10), respectively and a PLGA control membrane (n = 10). The assays were performed using the human osteoblast line MG-63 acquired from the Center for Scientific Instrumentation (CIC) from the University of Granada. The cell adhesion and the viability of the osteoblasts were analyzed by means of light-field microphotographs of each condition with the inverted microscope Axio Observer A1 (Carl Zeiss). For the determination of the mitochondrial energy balance, the MitoProbe (TM) JC-1 Assay Kit was employed. For the determination of cell growth and the morphology of adherent osteoblasts, two techniques were employed: staining with phalloidin-TRITC and staining with DAPI. (3) Results: The modified membranes that show osteoblasts with a morphology more similar to the control osteoblasts follow the order: PLGA/PO2/HA > PLGA/PO2/SiO2 > PLGA/PO2/TiO2 > PLGA (p < 0.05). When analysing the cell viability, a higher percentage of viable cells bound to the membranes was observed as follows: PLGA/PO2/SiO2 > PLGA/PO2/HA > PLGA/PO2/TiO2 > PLGA (p < 0.05), with a better energy balance of the cells adhered to the membranes PLGA/PO2/HA and PLGA/PO2/SiO2. (4) Conclusion: The membrane in which osteoblasts show characteristics more similar to the control osteoblasts is the PLGA/PO2/HA, followed by the PLGA/PO2/SiO2.

Mayo, 2018 | DOI: 10.3390/ma11050752

Thermal behaviour of sericite clays as precursors of mullite materials

Gonzalez-Miranda, FD; Garzon, E; Reca, J; Perez-Villarejo, L; Martinez-Martinez, S; Sanchez-Soto, PJ
Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, 132 (2018) 967-977


Thermal analysis of some sericite clays, from several deposits in Spain, which are not exploited at this time, has been studied. The samples have been previously characterized by mineralogical and chemical analysis. Sericite clays have interesting properties, with implications in ceramics and advanced materials, in particular concerning the formation of mullite by heating. According to this investigation by differential thermal and thermogravimetric analysis (DTA-TG), the sericite clay samples can be classified as: Group (I), sericite-kaolinite clays, with high or medium sericite content, characterized by an endothermic DTA peak of dehydroxylation of kaolinite with mass loss, which overlapped with dehydroxylation of sericite, and Group (II), sericite-kaolinite-pyrophyllite clays, with broader endothermic DTA peaks, in which kaolinite is dehydroxylated first and later sericite and pyrophyllite with the main mass loss, appearing the peaks overlapped. X-ray diffraction analysis of the heated sericite clay samples evidenced the decomposition of dehydroxylated sericite and its disappearance at 1050 A degrees C, with formation of mullite, the progressive disappearance of quartz and the formation of amorphous glassy phase. The vitrification temperature is similar to 1250 A degrees C in all these samples, with slight variations in the temperatures of maximum apparent density (2.41-2.52 g mL(-1)) in the range 1200-1300 A degrees C. The fine-grained sericite content and the presence of some mineralogical components contribute to the formation of mullite and the increase in the glassy phase by heating. Mullite is the only crystalline phase detected at 1400 A degrees C with good crystallinity. SEM revealed the dense network of rod-shaped and elongated needle-like mullite crystals in the thermally treated samples. These characteristics are advantageous when sericite clays are applied as ceramic raw materials.

Mayo, 2018 | DOI: 10.1007/s10973-018-7046-9

Obituary Note: Prof. Jose Manuel Criado

Perez-Maqueda, L; Koga, N; Malek, J
Thermochimica Acta, 663 (2018) A1


The late Prof. Jose Manuel Criado (1944.6.13–2018.2.27)

It is with the profoundest regret that we must report the passing of Prof. José Manuel Criado on February 27, 2018 at the age of 73. We express our most sincere condolences to his family, colleagues and friends.

Prof. Criado was born in Sevilla, Spain, on June 13th, 1944. He studied chemistry at the University of Seville and recieved his PhD from the same university under the supervision of Prof. Francisco González García and Prof. José María Trillo. He held a position as assistant professor at the Department of Inorganic Chemistry of the University of Seville from 1968 until 1972. Then, he joined the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) or National Research Council of Spain. In this institution he was junior researcher, senior researcher and, from 1986, full professor. Moreover, he has been visiting professor in a number of international institutions such as Stanford University (USA), CNRS Thermodynamics and Microcalorimetry Center in Marseille (France), University of Salford (UK), Macaulay Research Institute (UK), Institute of Inorganic Chemistry (Czech Republic), University of Chile (Chile). He had long-lasting collaborations with scientists from all over the world and visited labs in many countries. For many years, he used to spend some weeks abroad in the frame of collaboration projects with a number of international research groups, of special importance where his projects with the Czech Republic or Chile that lasted for over 20 years. He also served as an editorial board member of Thermochimica Acta for a long time and contributed largely to the further development of our academic field.

First research works of Prof. Criado were done within the field of heterogeneous catalysis, but very soon, he got interested in reactivity of solids and thermal analysis. Thus, most of his scientific career has been devoted to the study of kinetics of solid-state processes and mechanochemisty. He published about 240 papers in international journals. In the field of kinetics of solid-state processes, he made significant contributions, such as showing the limitations of using single linear heating rate experiments for extracting kinetic parameters, the proposal of master curves for discerning the kinetic model followed by the process or the combined analysis of experimental data obtained under different heating schedules. Moreover, after learning about the sample controlled thermal analysis (SCTA) method directly from Prof. Rouquerol in Marseille (France) and Profs. Paulik brothers in Budapest (Hungary), he constructed several of these instruments and extended the use of SCTA to the kinetic analysis of heterogeneous reactions, highlighting its advantages over conventional heating. Additionally, he used the kinetic control of solid-state processes by SCTA for the preparation of a number of functional and structural materials with controlled microstructures and properties. In the field of mechanochemistry, he made substantial contributions to the preparation of materials by gas–solid reaction using high energy planetary ball mills specially modified by him to work under controlled gas atmosphere.

Probably, the main contribution of Prof. Criado as a scientist has been as teacher and mentor for many of us. Despite of spending most of his scientific career in a research center rather than in a university, his laboratories were always full of students, postdocs and visitors from all over the world. He devoted a great effort to motivate and stimulate young people to pursue a career in science. His enthusiasm for science was sincere, as he loved science and research. Thus, he worked until the very last days and, even, when he could not go to the institute because he did not feel well, he worked in a small lab at home. He was very generous and always shared his knowledge with others. Thus, he expended long hours teaching about kinetics, making the complex equations easy to understand. Only those with a deep knowledge have this ability! It is not rare that many of his former students, postdocs and coworkers have permanent positions as professors and scientist in a number of international institutions. Another significant feature of Prof. Criado was his hospitality. He and his wife Maria Jesús Dianez, who joined his research group few years ago, has always his home doors open to any coworker or visitor.

We will all miss him not only as a scientist with a deep knowledge but as a friend we loved so much.

Mayo, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.tca.2018.05.004

The nanostructure of porous cobalt coatings deposited by magnetron sputtering in helium atmosphere

Lacroix, B; Godinho, V; Fernandez, A
Micron, 108 (2018) 49-54


In this work, (scanning) transmission electron microscopy has been used to study the nanostructure of porous cobalt coatings obtained by magnetron sputtering using helium as process gas. This nanostructure consists of closed pores of different nanometric size (about 4-20 nm) that are distributed all over a nanocrystalline Co matrix and filled with the deposition gas. Spatially resolved electron energy-loss spectroscopy analysis was applied to measure and map, with high lateral resolution, the relevant physical properties (density, pressure and He-K edge shift) of helium trapped inside these individual nanopores, in order to provide new insights about the growth mechanism involved in such systems. In particular, a coefficient of proportionality, C = 0.039 eV nm(3), between the blue shift of the He K-edge and the He density has been found. In addition, very high He densities (10-100 at./nm(3)) and pressures in the gigapascal range (0.05-5.0 GPa) have been measured. The linear dependence of these parameters as a function of the inverse radii obeying to the Laplace-Young law for most of the pores suggests that their formation during the coating's growth takes place in regime of elastic deformation of the Co matrix.

Mayo, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.micron.2018.02.004

Microemulsion Assisted Sol-Gel Method as Approach to Load a Model Anticancer Drug inside Silica Nanoparticles for Controlled Release Applications

Jaramillo, N; Paucar, C; Fernandez, A; Negrete, CG; Garcia, C
Collid and Interface Science Communications, 24 (2018) 13-17


Silica nanoparticles are attractive carriers due to their improved safety and effectiveness in drug delivery. Silica nanoparticles were synthesized by using microemulsion assisted sol-gel method, and a model anticancer drug 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) was added to the silica precursor before hydrolysis and condensation reactions start. The obtained materials were characterized by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). Drug encapsulation within silica nanoparticles causes an increase in particle size. However, particle morphology is not affected. The drug release profile was obtained through high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The encapsulation approach showed to be effective for sustaining a continuous and increasing release during testing time (98 h). Further studies were performed to evaluate the cytotoxic effects of silica nanoparticles with loaded 5-FU on Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO-K1). Materials are non-cytotoxic for all concentration tested (5-200 mu g/mL).

Mayo, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.colcom.2018.03.002

Phase-pure BiFeO3 produced by reaction flash-sintering of Bi2O3 and Fe2O3

Gil-Gonzalez, E; Perejon, A; Sanchez-Jimenez, PE; Sayagues, MJ; Raj, R; Perez-Maqueda, LA
Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 6 (2018) 5356-5366


Mixed powders of Bi2O3 and Fe2O3 are shown to yield single-phase, dense nanostructured polycrystals of BiFeO3 in reaction flash sintering experiments, carried out by applying a field of 50 V cm(-1) and with the current limit set to 35 mA mm(-2). The furnace was heated at a constant rate with the reaction sintering taking place abruptly upon reaching 625 degrees C. Remarkably, an intermediate bismuth-rich phase of the oxide that forms just before reaching the flash temperature transforms, and at the same time sinters, into singlephase BiFeO3 within a few seconds after the onset of the flash. The BiFeO3 so produced is electrically insulating, a property that is critical to its applications. This one-step synthesis of single-phase polycrystals of complex oxides from their basic constituents, by reaction flash sintering, is a significant development in the processing of complex oxides, which are normally difficult to sinter by conventional methods.

Abril, 2018 | DOI: 10.1039/c7ta09239c

Absorption and Emission of Light in Optoelectronic Nanomaterials: The Role of the Local Optical Environment

Jimenez-Solano, Alberto; Galisteo-Lopez, Juan F.; Miguez, Hernan
Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 9 (2018) 2077-2084


Tailoring the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with matter is central to the development of optoelectronic devices. This becomes particularly relevant for a new generation of devices offering the possibility of solution processing with competitive efficiencies as well as new functionalities. These devices, containing novel materials such as inorganic colloidal quantum dots or hybrid organic-inorganic lead halide perovskites, commonly demand thin (tens of nanometers) active layers in order to perform optimally and thus maximizing the way electromagnetic radiation interacts with these layers is essential. In this Perspective, we discuss the relevance of tailoring the optical environment of the active layer in an optoelectronic device and illustrate it with two real-world systems comprising photovoltaic cells and light emitting devices.

Abril, 2018 | DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.8b00848

Enhancing Moisture and Water Resistance in Perovskite Solar Cells by Encapsulation with Ultrathin Plasma Polymers

Idigoras, J; Aparicio, FJ; Contreras-Bemal, L; Ramos-Terron, S; Alcaire, M; Sanchez-Valencia, JR; Borras, A; Barranco, A; Anta, JA
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 10 (2018) 11587-11594


A compromise between high power conversion efficiency and long-term stability of hybrid organic inorganic metal halide perovskite solar cells is necessary for their outdoor photovoltaic application and commercialization. Herein, a method to improve the stability of perovskite solar cells under water and moisture exposure consisting of the encapsulation of the cell with an ultrathin plasma polymer is reported. The deposition of the polymer is carried out at room temperature by the remote plasma vacuum deposition of adamantane powder. This encapsulation method does not affect the photovoltaic performance of the tested devices and is virtually compatible with any device configuration independent of the chemical composition. After 30 days under ambient conditions with a relative humidity (RH) in the range of 35-60%, the absorbance of encapsulated perovskite films remains practically unaltered. The deterioration in the photovoltaic performance of the corresponding encapsulated devices also becomes significantly delayed with respect to devices without encapsulation when vented continuously with very humid air (RH > 85%). More impressively, when encapsulated solar devices were immersed in liquid water, the photovoltaic performance was not affected at least within the first 60 s. In fact, it has been possible to measure the power conversion efficiency of encapsulated devices under operation in water. The proposed method opens up a new promising strategy to develop stable photovoltaic and photocatalytic perovskite devices.

Abril, 2018 | DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b17824

Electrophoretic deposition of mixed copper oxide/GO as cathode and N-doped GO as anode for electrochemical energy storage

Jafari, EA; Moradi, M; Hajati, S; Kiani, MA; Espinos, JP
Electrochimica Acta, 268 (2018) 392-402


In this work, energy storage properties of mixed copper oxide wrapped by reduced graphene oxide and nitrogen-doped reduced graphene oxide were investigated. First, co-electrophoretic deposition technique was used to coat GO@CuO on nickel foam; followed by electrochemical phase transformation to rGO@CuxO. Electron spectroscopy analyses (XPS, REELS and UPS) confirm the phase transformation and electrochemical reduction. Then, an electrophoretic deposition was carried out for coating nitrogen-doped graphene oxide on nickel foam coupled to its electrochemical reduction to the NrGO. The cathode and anode performances were studied by galvanostatic charge-discharge, cyclic voltammetry and impedance spectroscopy. The rGO@CuxO and NrGO exhibit a favorable specific capacity of 267.2 and 332.6 C g(-1) at 2 A g(-1), respectively. High electrochemical activity and elimination of polymer binders with a maximum potential of 1.6 V are among the advantages of rGO@CuxO//NrGO electrochemical charge storage device. Furthermore, fabricated device provided a maximum specific power and specific energy of 11917.24 W kg(-1) and 14.15 Wh kg(-1), respectively, with 86% capacity retention after 2000 cycles.

Abril, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.electacta.2018.02.122

Spark plasma sintering of titanium nitride in nitrogen: Does it affect the sinterability and the mechanical properties?

Moshtaghioun, BM; Gomez-Garcia, D; Dominguez-Rodriguez, A
Journal of the European Ceramic Society, 38 (2018) 1190-1196


Titanium nitride ceramics have an intrinsic interest due to its optical and structural applications. However, the conditions for sintering of dense pieces are not still clarified. This research work is focused on the spark plasma sintering (SPS) of near-fully dense fine-grained TiN. The main goal is giving a response to a longstanding debate: can the external atmosphere favor sintering? Different sintering atmospheres, either vacuum or a nitrogen flow, have been used during SPS heating to this purpose. X ray diffraction analysis has showed the presence of TiN as the main phase with traces of Ti4O7 in optimal SPS conditions (1600 °C, one minute dwell time). Our results show that the use of a nitrogen flow while heating can improve sinterability very slightly, but mechanical properties are essentially unaltered within the experimental uncertainty. The hardness reaches values as high as 20GPa whereas fracture toughness can be evaluated around 4 MPam1/2.

Abril, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jeurceramsoc.2017.12.029