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Co3O4 + CeO2/SiO2 Catalysts for n-Hexane and CO Oxidation

Todorova, S; Kadinov, G; Tenchev, K; Caballero, A; Holgado, JP; Pereniguez, R
Catalysis Letters, 129 (2009) 149-155


Two-component Co–Ce samples deposited onto SiO2 have been prepared, characterized and tested in the reaction of complete n-hexane and CO oxidation. It was established that cerium enhanced the catalytic activity of cobalt in the reaction of n-hexane oxidation, although this depended on the sequence of cobalt and cerium introduction. Co-impregnation of Co and Ce resulted in a close interaction between Co3O4 and CeO2 leading to more surface oxygen species available and, therefore, a better reactivity.

Abril, 2009 | DOI: 10.1007/s10562-008-9805-x

Tribological carbon-based coatings: An AFM and LFM study

Martinez-Martinez, D; Kolodziejczyk, L; Sanchez-Lopez, JC; Fernandez, A
Surface Science, 603 (2009) 973-979


In this work some carbon-based coatings were studied by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and lateral force microscopy (LFM) techniques in order to evaluate their microstructure and friction properties at the micro and nanoscale. With this aim, four samples were prepared by magnetron sputtering: an amorphous carbon film (a–C), two nanocomposites TiC/a–C with different phase ratio (∼1:1 and ∼1:3) and a nanocrystalline TiC sample. Additionally, a highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) and an amorphous hydrogenated carbon coating (a-C:H) were included to help in the evaluation of the influence of the roughness and the hydrogen presence respectively. The topography (roughness) of the samples was studied by AFM, whereas LFM was used to measure the friction properties at the nanoscale by two different approaches. Firstly, an evaluation of possible friction contrast on the samples was done. This task was performed by subtraction of forward and reverse images and lately confirmed by the study of lateral force profiles in both directions and the histograms of the subtraction images. Secondly, an estimation of the average friction coefficient over the analysed surface of each sample was carried out. To take into account the tip evolution/damaging, mica was used as a reference before and after each sample (hereafter called sandwich method), and samples-to-mica friction ratios were calculated. The LFM was shown to be a useful tool to characterise a mixture of phases with different friction coefficients. In general, the friction ratios seemed to be dominated by the amorphous carbon phase, as it was impossible to distinguish among samples with different proportions of the amorphous phase (friction ratios between 1.5 and 1.75). Nevertheless, it could be concluded that the differences in friction behaviour arose from the chemical aspects (nature of the phase and hydrogen content) rather than surface characteristics, since the roughness (Ra values up to 5.7 nm) does not follow the observed trend. Finally, the Ogletree method was employed in order to calibrate the lateral force and estimate the friction coefficient of our samples. A good agreement was found with macroscopic and literature values going from ∼0.3 for TiC to ∼0.1 for pure carbon.

Abril, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.susc.2009.01.043

Comparison between micro-Raman and micro-FTIR spectroscopy techniques for the characterization of pigments from Southern Spain Cultural Heritage

Franquelo, ML; Duran, A; Herrera, LK; de Haro, MCJ; Perez-Rodriguez, JL
Journal of Molecular Structure, 924-926 (2009) 404-412


An extensive overview of the complementary use of micro-FTIR and micro-Raman spectroscopy in the Cultural Heritage studies is described in this work.

The samples have been prepared using the cross-section technique. This technique allows the examination of a large portion of a single paint layer in its original condition. A variety of pigments from samples belonging principally to the Cultural Heritage of Southern Spain were characterized by micro-Raman spectroscopy using visible excitation sources and micro-FTIR spectroscopy. The pigments studied comprise blue (azurite, ultramarine blue, Prussian blue), red (vermilion, haematite, red ochre, red lead, etc.), ochre and yellow (goethite, orpiment, realgar, etc.), green (malachite, copper resinate), and white (calcite, gypsum, white lead, titanium white, barite, lithopone) pigments, among others. An orientation is given for their appropriate and unequivocal characterization. Characterization by micro-FTIR and micro-Raman presents difficulties with some pigments. In these cases, analysis by EDX solves most of these doubts. The combined use of both spectroscopic techniques, together with SEM–EDX microanalysis, provides one of the most useful methods in the characterization (and possible dating) of materials used in Cultural Heritage.

Abril, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.molstruc.2008.11.041

Water plasmas for the revalorisation of heavy oils and cokes from petroleum refining

Hueso, JL; Rico, VJ; Cotrino, J; Jimenez-Mateos, JM; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR
Environmental Science & Technology, 43 (2009) 2557-2562


This work investigates the possibility of using plasmas to treat high boiling point and viscous liquids (HBPVL) and cokes resulting as secondary streams from the refining of oil. For their revalorisation, the use of microwave (MW) induced plasmas of water is proposed, as an alternative to more conventional processes (i.e., catalysis, pyrolysis, combustion, etc.). As a main result, this type of energetic cold plasma facilitates the conversion at room temperature of the heavy aromatic oils and cokes into linear hydrocarbons and synthesis gas, commonly defined as syngas (CO + H2 gas mixture). The exposure of the coke to this plasma also facilitates the removal of the sulfur present in the samples and leads to the formation on their surface of a sort of carbon fibers and rods network and new porous structures. Besides, optical emission measurements have provided direct evidence of the intermediates resulting from the fragmentation of the heavy oils and cokes during their exposure to the water plasma. Furthermore, the analysis of the mass spectra patterns suggests a major easiness to break the aromatic bonds mainly contained in the heavy oils. Therefore, an innovative method for the conversion of low value residues from oil-refining processes is addressed.

Marzo, 2009 | DOI: 10.1021/es900236b

Wetting Angles on Illuminated Ta2O5 Thin Films with Controlled Nanostructure

Rico, V; Borras, A; Yubero, F; Espinos, JP; Frutos, F; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR
Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 113 (2009) 3775-3784


Ta2O5 thin films with different nanostructure and surface roughness have been prepared by electron evaporation at different angles between the evaporation source and the substrates. Large variation of refraction indexes (n) from 1.40 to 1.80 were obtained by changing the geometry of evaporation and/or by annealing the evaporated films at increasing temperatures up to 1000 °C to make them crystalline. Very flat and compact thin films (n = 2.02) were also obtained by assisting the growth by bombardment with O2+ ions of 800 eV kinetic energy. A similar correlation has been found between the wetting contact angle of water and the roughness of the films for the evaporated and evaporated + annealed samples, irrespective of their procedure of preparation and other microstructural characteristics. When the films were illuminated with UV light of h > Eg = 4.2 eV (Eg, band gap energy of Ta2O5), their surface became superhydrophilic (contact angle < 10°) in a way quite similar to those reported for illuminated TiO2 thin films. The rate of transformation into the superhydrophilic state was smaller for the crystalline than for the amorphous films, suggesting that in Ta2O5 the size of crystal domains at the surface is an important parameter for the control of this kinetics. Changes in the water contact angle on films illuminated with visible light were also found when they were subjected to implantation with N2+ ions of 800 eV kinetic energy. The origin of this photoactivity is discussed in terms of the electronic band gap states associated with the nitrogen-implanted atoms. The possibility of preparing antireflective and self-cleaning coatings of Ta2O5 is discussed.

Marzo, 2009 | DOI: 10.1021/jp805708w

Pillared clays with Al–Fe and Al–Ce–Fe in concentrated medium: Synthesis and catalytic activity

Sanabria, NR; Centeno, MA; Molina, R; Moreno, S
Applied Catalysis A-General, 356 (2009) 243-249


This paper proposes a new methodology for the modification of clays with the mixed Al–Fe and Al–Ce–Fe systems, which involves the synthesis of solid polymeric precursors and their use as pillaring agents in the modification of clays. The process of intercalation of clay with Al13, Al13 + Fe and Al13 + Ce + Fe nitrate was performed using ultrasound. The pillaring agents Al13, Al13 + Fe and Al13 + Ce + Fe were characterized by XRF, XRD, SEM and 27Al NMR techniques, and pillared clays were characterized by XRF, XRD and N2 adsorption to 77 K. The catalytic properties of pillared clays were evaluated using catalytic wet peroxide oxidation of phenol in dilute aqueous medium, demonstrating activity comparable to that of solids modified by the conventional method.

Marzo, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apcata.2009.01.013

Redox chemistry of gold in a Au/FeOx/CeO2 CO oxidation catalyst

Penkova, A; Chakarova, K; Laguna, OH; Hadjiivanov, K; Saria, FR; Centeno, MA; Odriozola, JA
Catalysis Communications, 10 (2009) 1196-1202


Calcination and evacuation of a Au/FeOx/CeO2 catalyst at 573 K leads to reduction of the deposited gold to metal. This metal state is stable under oxygen and only at 573 K some metal atoms are oxidized to Auδ+ sites (Au+ cations situated on metal gold particles). However, even at room temperature, gold is readily oxidized in a CO + O2 mixture producing, in addition to the Auδ+ sites, some isolated Au+ cations.

Marzo, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.catcom.2009.01.014

Cutin synthesis: A slippery paradigm

Heredia, A; Heredia-Guerrero, JA; Dominguez, E; Benitez, JJ
Biointerphases, 4 (2009) P1-P3


Despite its biological importance, the mechanism of construction of cutin, the polymer matrix of plant cuticles, has not yet been elucidated. Recently, progress on lipid barrier formation of polymers such as cutin and suberin has been recently reviewed by Pollard et al. In their review the authors state that the ubiquitous cutin is the least understood of the plant extracellular polymers and that major questions about cutin structure and its macromolecular assembly remain to be resolved. At the time this paper was being published our research group has developed a new hypothesis on plant cutin synthesis.

Marzo, 2009 | DOI: 10.1116/1.3063816

Growth Mechanism and Chemical Structure of Amorphous Hydrogenated Silicon Carbide (a-SiC:H) Films Formed by Remote Hydrogen Microwave Plasma CVD From a Triethylsilane Precursor: Part 1

Wrobel, AM; Walkiewicz-Pietrzykowska, A; Ahola, M; Vayrynen, IJ; Ferrer-Fernandez, FJ; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR
Chemical Vapor Deposition, 15 (2009) 39-46


Amorphous hydrogenated silicon carbide (a-SiC:H) films are produced by remote microwave hydrogen plasma (RHP)CVD using triethylsilane (TrES) as the single-source precursor. The reactivity of particular bonds of the precursor in the activation step is examined using tetraethylsilane as a model compound for the RHP-CVD experiments. The susceptibility of a TrES precursor towards film formation is characterized by determining the yield of RHP-CVD and comparing it with that of the trimethylsilane precursor. The effect of substrate temperature (Ts) on the rate of the RHP-CVD process, chemical composition, and chemical structure of the resulting a-SiC:H films is reported. The substrate temperature dependence of the film growth rate implies that film growth is independent of the temperature and RHP-CVD is a mass transport-limited process. The examination of the a-SiC:H films, performed by means of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), elastic recoil detection analysis (ERDA), and Fourier transform infrared absorption spectroscopy (FTIR), reveals that the increase in the substrate temperature from 30 °C to 400 °C causes the elimination of organic moieties from the film and the formation of a Si-carbidic network structure. On the basis of the results of the structural study, the chemistry involved in film formation is proposed.

Marzo, 2009 | DOI: 10.1002/cvde.200806726

Duplex SiCN/DLC coating as a solution to improve fretting—Corrosion resistance of steel

Pech, D; Schupp, N; Steyer, P; Hack, T; Gachon, Y; Heau, C; Loir, AS; Sanchez-Lopez, JC
Wear, 266 (2009) 832-838


Fretting corrosion damages are commonly observed when two metallic bodies, which are in contact with each other, are subjected to oscillatory motions of low amplitude. Such kind of degradation mode is often responsible for limited durability of aeronautical joints. In the present paper, a multifunctional duplex coating based on Si–C–N and diamond-like carbon (DLC) materials, combining corrosion resistance and good tribological properties is described. Amorphous hydrogenated SiC, SiCN, SiC/DLC and SiCN/DLC were deposited on steel substrates by a plasma assisted chemical vapour deposition (PACVD) technique, using tetramethylsilane (TMS), ammonia (NH3) or acetylene (C2H2) as gas precursors. Nitrogen incorporation has shown to improve the corrosion protection ability of SiC coatings. The corrosion behaviour and the tribological performance in aqueous media of SiCN/DLC coating have therefore been investigated. A test rig has been designed to validate the fretting resistance of this duplex coating for aeronautic applications. It was found that the combination of a SiCN-based PACVD sublayer with a DLC topcoat could provide an enhanced solution to withstand both fretting and corrosion.

Marzo, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.wear.2008.12.007

Self-lubricating Ti–C–N nanocomposite coatings prepared by double magnetron sputtering

Martinez-Martinez, D; Lopez-Cartes, C; Justo, A; Fernandez, A; Sanchez-Lopez, JC
Solid State Sciences, 11 (2009) 660-670


This paper is devoted to the development of Ti(C,N)-based nanocomposite protective coatings consisting of nanocrystals of a hard phase (TiN or TiCxNy) embedded in an amorphous carbon-based matrix (a-C or a-CNx). The objective here is the achievement of a good compromise between the mechanical and tribological properties by the appropriate control of the hard/soft phase ratio and the microstructural characteristics of the film. To achieve this purpose, dual magnetron sputtering technique was employed following two different strategies. In the first one, we use Ti and graphite targets and Ar/N2 gas mixtures, while in the second case, TiN and graphite targets are sputtered in an Ar atmosphere. By changing the sputtering power applied to each magnetron, different sets of samples are prepared for each route. The effect of the bias voltage applied to the substrate is also studied in some selected cases. The mechanical and tribological properties of the films are characterized and correlated with the microstructure, crystallinity and phase composition. The establishment of correlations enables the development of advanced coatings with tailored mechanical and tribological properties for desired applications.

Marzo, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.solidstatesciences.2008.10.017

Study by grazing incident diffraction and surface spectroscopy of amalgams from ancient mirrors

Herrera, LK; Duran, A; Franquelo, ML; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR; Espinos, JP; Rubio-Zuazo, J; Castro, GR; Justo, A; Perez-Rodriguez, JL
Central European Journal of Chemistry, 7 (2009) 47-53


Characterization of four amalgam surfaces, with different alteration degrees from Andalusia historical mirrors, has been carried out by grazing-incidence X-ray diffraction (GIXRD), and other spectroscopic techniques (SEM/EDX, XPS, and REELS). The combination of all these techniques allows determining the corrosion state of the amalgams. The results show that the amalgams are composed in all cases of a binary alloy of tin and mercury. As mercury has high vapour pressure at RT, it slowly segregates and eventually evaporates, it leaves finely divided particles of tin that easily can be oxidize, forming tin monoxide (SnO) and tin dioxide (SnO2). In one of the samples, most of the amalgam remains unoxidized, since Hg0.1Sn0.9 and metallic Sn phases are the major components; in two other samples, Hg0.1Sn0.9 and Sn phases are not detected while SnO2 and SnO phases appear. Finally, in the last studied sample, only SnO2 phase is detected. The surface analyses of these samples by XPS show that, for most of them an unique chemical species (Sn4+) is found.

Marzo, 2009 | DOI: 10.2478/s11532-008-0089-1

Effect of the grinding mechanical treatment on the pyrophilite textural properties

Sanchez-Soto, PJ
Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Cerámica y Vidrio, 48 (2009) 59-68


Fabrication of ordered crystalline zirconium nanoporous membranes by an one-step procedure

Marquez, F; Morant, C; Pirota, KR; Borras, A; Sanz, JM; Elizalde, E
Nano Today, 4 (2009) 21-26


Crystalline porous zirconium membranes were obtained by physical vapor deposition on AAO templates at room temperature. These membranes were found to have similar hexagonal nanohole arrays as the template and high crystallinity. The pore size of the synthesized metallic membranes could be controlled during the synthesis through appropriate parameters in the experimental procedure.

Febrero, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.nantod.2008.10.012

Porous One-Dimensional Photonic Crystals Improve the Power-Conversion Efficiency of Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

Colodrero, S; Mihi, A; Haggman, L; Ocana, M; Boschloo, G; Hagfeldt, A; Miguez, H
Advanced Materials, 21 (2009) 764-770


A device for solar-energy conversion was introduced in which a porous and highly reflecting 1D photonic crystal (1D PC) was coupled to a dye-sensitized nanocrystals anatase (NC-TiO2) electrode. The results show that the transparency of the PC-based dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) in the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum is very similar to that of the reference cell. The multilayer whose photonic bandgap has a larger overlap with the absorption band of the ruthenium dye, gives rise to a larger enhancement of the photocurrent. It is also seen that the porous 0.5μm thick PC, whose deleterious effect is compensated by the large increment in photocurrent. The spectral photoelectric response of the cell clearly shows the effect that coupling to a PC has on the current photogenerated in the dye-sensitized electrode.

Febrero, 2009 | DOI: 10.1002/adma.200703115

Towards a full understanding of the growth dynamics and optical response of self-assembled photonic colloidal crystal films

Lozano, GS; Dorado, LA; Depine, RA; Miguez, H
Journal of Materials Chemistry, 19 (2009) 185-190


Recent advances in the comprehension of the growth dynamics of colloidal crystal films opens the door to rational design of experiments aiming at fabricating lattices in which the density of intrinsic defects is minimized. Since such imperfections have a dramatic effect on scattered light of wavelength smaller than the lattice constant, the evaluation of the experimental optical response at those energy ranges, based on the comparison to rigorous calculations, is identified as the most sensitive guide to accurately evaluate the progress towards the actual realization of defect-free colloidal crystals.

Febrero, 2009 | DOI: 10.1039/b811955d

Preferential Adsorption from Binary Mixtures on Graphite: The n-Decane−n-Heptan-1-ol System

Alba, MD; Castro, MA; Clarke, S; Medina, S; Messe, L; Millan, C; Orta, MM; Perdigon, AC
Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 113 (2009) 3176-3180


The competitive adsorption of n-decane and n-heptan-1-ol adsorbed from the binary liquid mixture onto graphite has been studied using differential scanning calorimetry, incoherent quasielastic neutron scattering, and 1H and 2H nuclear magnetic resonance. A solid monolayer is identified at all bulk solution compositions with a melting temperature that varies with bulk composition in a manner resembling the bulk behavior. Incoherent elastic neutron scattering, IQNS, and nuclear magnetic resonance, NMR, data indicate that decane is preferentially adsorbed onto the surface over most of the composition range, heptanol being the principal surface component only at very high heptanol concentrations. NMR is proved, for the first time, to be an efficient tool to provide independent information on each component of the system.

Febrero, 2009 | DOI: 10.1021/jp8072014

Control over the Structural and Optical Features of Nanoparticle-Based One-Dimensional Photonic Crystals

Calvo, ME; Sanchez-Sobrado, O; Colodrero, S; Miguez, H
Langmuir, 25 (2012) 2443-2448


Herein we present a detailed analysis of the effect of the spin-coating protocol over the optical properties of nanoparticle-based one-dimensional photonic crystals. Based on these results, we provide a reliable synthetic route to attain high-quality porous multilayers in which the effect of imperfections is minimized and whose Bragg diffraction can be precisely tuned over the entire visible and near-infrared spectrum. We present a systematic study of the effect of the acceleration ramp and final rotation speed over the structural and optical quality of these materials. This allows us to relate the structural variations observed with the different relative importance of fluid flow and solvent evaporation on the thinning of each layer in the stack for the different deposition conditions employed.

Febrero, 2009 | DOI: 10.1021/la8030057

Synthesis of MCM-22 zeolites of different Si/Al ratio and their structural, morphological and textural characterisation

Delitala, C; Alba, MD; Becerro, AI; Delpiano, D; Meloni, D; Musu, E; Ferino, I
Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, 118 (2009) 1-10


MCM-22 zeolites with Si/Al in the 9–46 range were synthesised in rotating autoclave and characterised by X-ray diffraction, 1H, 29Si and 27Al magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance, scanning electron microscopy and nitrogen physisorption. For the Si/Al = 21, 30 and 46 samples both X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy revealed the crystallisation of pure MCM-22. Besides the latter, crystals of ferrierite also formed during the synthesis of the Si/Al = 9 sample. Based on the 1H MAS NMR spectra of dehydrated samples, the different proton species present on the MCM-22 samples were determined and quantified. Information about the incorporation of Al ions into the zeolite framework, as well as on the preferential crystallographic sites occupied in dependence on the Si/Al ratio of the sample, was obtained by 27Al MAS NMR spectroscopy. From 29Si MAS NMR spectra, differences in the degree of crystallinity of the samples were assessed, the results being in agreement with the diffraction data. Nitrogen physisorption runs revealed the microporous nature of the adsorbents, with a supermicropore to ultramicropore volume ratio in good agreement, for the best crystallised samples, with the porous structure with supercages and sinusoidal channels of the ideal MCM-22 crystal.

Febrero, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.micromeso.2008.07.047

Liquid-phase thiophene adsorption on MCM-22 zeolites. Acidity, adsorption behaviour and nature of the adsorbed products

Delitala, C; Cadoni, E; Delpiano, D; Meloni, D; Alba, MD; Becerro, AI; Ferino, I
Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, 118 (2009) 11-20


The liquid-phase adsorption of thiophene from thiophene/iso-octane solutions has been investigated in batch conditions at room temperature and atmospheric pressure on MCM-22 zeolites with Si/Al in the 9–46 range. Thiophene adsorption was found to occur in two steps whatever the Si/Al ratio of the adsorbent. The presence of ferrierite besides the MCM-22 phase caused a significant loss of the adsorption performance. For pure MCM-22 samples, the Si/Al ratio influenced the adsorption performance. Based on the acid properties of the samples, investigated by adsorption microcalorimetry of ammonia, the adsorption features were interpreted by assuming that positively charged species were originated during the first step; these species underwent successive reaction with weakly adsorbed species formed in the second step, leading to heavy molecular weight organosulphur compounds. Direct evidence for the occurrence of reactive adsorption of thiophene involving its transformation into heavy molecular weight organosulphur compounds was obtained by GC/MS investigation of the nature of the adsorbed material recovered after the adsorption experiments. The peculiar structure of MCM-22 zeolites made possible the formation of long-sized organosulphur compounds. Due to the mechanism by which thiophene is transformed (i.e. progressive addition of other thiophene molecules), the size of the resulting products was found to depend also on the concentration of the weakly adsorbed thiophene molecules able to interact with those already activated through protonation.

Febrero, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.micromeso.2008.08.008