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Phase separation of carboxylic acids on graphite surface at submonolayer regime

Alba, MD; Bickerstaffe, AK; Castro, MA; Clarke, SM; Medina, S; Millan, C; Orta, MM; Pavon, E; Perdigon, AC
The European Physical Journal Special Topics, 167 (2009) 151-156


Mixing behaviour of solid crystalline monolayers adsorbed onto graphite from different mixtures of undecanoic and dodecanoic acids at submonolayer coverage has been investigated. X-ray diffraction measurements have been collected from a variety of compositions as a function of temperature. An extensive phase separation is found for all the compositions – the scattering patterns characteristic of the pure material crystalline structures being preserved across the entire composition range. The temperature dependence of the monolayer melting points and their depression is also clearly indicative of separation of the two surface components, in clear contrast to that expected if the two carboxylic acids mixed ideally in the monolayer.

Febrero, 2009 | DOI: 10.1140/epjst/e2009-00951-6

Experimental Demonstration of the Mechanism of Light Harvesting Enhancement in Photonic-Crystal-Based Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

Colodrero, S; Mihi, A; Anta, JA; Ocaña, M; Miguez, H
Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 113 (2012) 1150-1154


Herein, we report an experimental analysis of the photogenerated current of very thin and uniform dye-sensitized nanocrytalline titanium oxide (nc-TiO2) electrodes coupled to high-quality one-dimensional photonic crystals. The effect of well-defined optical absorption resonances are detected both in optical spectroscopy and photogenerated current experiments, a clear correspondence between them being established. Our study demonstrates that light trapping within absorbing electrodes is responsible for the absorption enhancement that has previously been reported and unveils the mechanism behind it. We prove that this effect improves significantly the power conversion efficiency of very thin electrodes.

Enero, 2009 | DOI: 10.1021/jp809789s

Optically Active Luminescent Perylene Thin Films Deposited by Plasma Polymerization

Blaszczyk-Lezak, I; Aparicio, FJ; Borras, A; Barranco, A; Alvarez-Herrero, A; Fernandez-Rodriguez, M; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR
Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 113 (2009) 12840-12847


This work reports about the preparation of plasma polymerized thin films of perylene with thicknesses 30−150 nm and their characterization by different methods and the analysis of their optical properties. Highly absorbent and fluorescent films have been obtained by this method that combines the sublimation of the perylene molecules and their controlled polymerization by the interaction with remote Ar plasma. The polymeric films are very flat with a root mean square (rms) roughness in the range 0.3−0.4 nm. In contrast with the sublimated layers of perylene that present a high scattering of light, the polymerized films depict the well-defined absorption bands in the region 400−450 nm and fluorescence spectra of the perylene molecule at 475 nm. The films are formed by a matrix formed by cross-linked fragments of perylene and intact molecules that confer the observed optical properties to this material. The optical and microstructural characteristics of this type of thin films and the possibility to perform their deposition by using lithographic procedures make them suitable for their integration into photonic components for various applications. A preliminary study of the use of these films as an optical sensor of NO2 is also presented.

Enero, 2009 | DOI:

Luminescent and Optical Properties of Nanocomposite Thin Films Deposited by Remote Plasma Polymerization of Rhodamine 6G

Aparicio, FJ; Borras, A; Blaszczyk-Lezak, I; Groning, P; Alvarez-Herrero, A; Fernandez-Rodriguez, M; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR; Barranco, A
Plasma Processes and Polymers, 6 (2009) 17-26


Mechanically stable and insoluble fluorescent thin films have been deposited by sublimating Rhodamine 6G laser dye in the downstream region of a low-power microwave ECR plasma using an experimental set-up designed to control the interaction of the dye molecule with the glow discharge. The use of reactive organosilane plasmas allows to control the dye distribution inside the matrix, leading to solid nanocomposite thin films containing non-aggregated dye molecules. The suppression of aggregates is a key issue to avoid fluorescence quenching. The obtained nanocomposite films are interesting because of their strong absorption and high fluorescence emission. In addition, they can be patterned using in situ plasma treatments in order to produce optically functional devices.

Enero, 2009 | DOI: 10.1002/ppap.200800092

Influence of the microstructure on the mechanical and tribological behavior of TiC/a-C nanocomposite coatings

Martinez-Martinez, D; Lopez-Cartes, C; Fernandez, A; Sanchez-Lopez, JC
Thin Solid Films, 517 (2009) 1662-1671


The performance of protective thin films is clearly influenced by their microstructure. The objective of this work is to study the influence of the structure of TiC/a-C nanocomposite coatings with a-C contents ranging from ~ 0% to 100% on their mechanical and tribological properties measured by ultramicroindentation and pin-on-disks tests at ambient air, respectively. The microstructure evolves from a polycrystalline columnar structure consisting of TiC crystals to an amorphous and dense TiC/a-C nanocomposite structure when the amount of a-C is increased. The former samples show high hardness, moderate friction and high wear rates, while the latter ones show a decrease in hardness but an improvement in tribological performance. No apparent direct correlation is found between hardness and wear rate, which is controlled by the friction coefficient. These results are compared to the literature and explained according to the different film microstructures and chemical bonding nature. The film stress has also been measured at the macro and micro levels by the curvature and Williamson–Hall methods respectively. Other mechanical properties of the coating such as resilience and toughness were evaluated by estimating the H3/E⁎2 and H/E⁎ ratios and the percentage of elastic work (We). None of these parameters showed a tendency that could explain the observed tribological results, indicating that for self-lubricant nanocomposite systems this correlation is not so simple and that the assembly of different factors must be taken into account.

Enero, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.tsf.2008.09.091

Application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in the search for and characterization of raw materials of interest in ceramics and glass

Garzon, E; Garcia, IG; Ruiz-Conde, A; Sanchez-Soto, PJ
Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Cerámica y Vidrio, 48 (2009) 39-44


General Quantum-Mechanical Study on the Hydrolysis Equilibria for a Tetravalent Aquaion: The Extreme Case of the Po(IV) in Water

Ayala, R; Martinez, JM; Pappalardo, RR; Paez, AM; Marcos, ES
Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 113 (2009) 487-496


A systematic study of the different hydrolyzed species derived from the hydrated Po(IV) in water, [Po(H2O)n(OH)m](4−m) for 1 m 4, and 4 m + n 9, has been carried out by means of quantum mechanical computations. The effects of outer solvation shells have been included using a polarizable continuum dielectric model. For a fixed number of hydroxyl groups, the preferred hydration number for the Po(IV) can be determined in terms of Gibbs energy. It is shown that the hydration number (n) systematically decreases with the increase in the number of hydroxyl groups (m) in such a way the total coordination number (n + m) becomes smaller, being 9 in the aquocomplex and 4 in the neutral hydroxo-complex. Free energies for the hydrolysis processes involving Po(IV) complexes and a different number of hydroxyl groups have been computed, revealing the strong tendency toward hydrolysis exhibited by these complexes. The predominant species of Po(IV) in aqueous solutions are ruled by a dynamical equilibrium involving aggregates containing in the first coordination shell OH− groups and water molecules. Although there is not experimental information to check the theoretical predictions, theoretical computations in solution seem to suggest that the most likely clusters are [Po(H2O)5(OH)2]2+ and [Po(H2O)4(OH)2]2+. The geometry of the different clusters is ruled by the trend of hydroxyl groups to be mutually orthogonal and to promote a strong perturbation of the water molecule in trans-position by lengthening the Po−H2O distances and tilting the corresponding bond angle. A general thermodynamic cycle is defined to compute the Gibbs free energy associated to the formation of the different hydrolyzed forms in solution. From it, the estimates of pKa values associated to the different protolytic equilibria are provided and discussed. Comparison of the relative values of pKa along a hydrolysis series with the experimental values for other tetravalent cations supports its consistency.

Enero, 2009 | DOI: 10.1021/jp804957s

Gold nanoparticles on silica monospheres modified by amino groups

Penkova, A; Blanes, JMM; Cruz, SA; Centeno, MA; Hadjiivanov, K; Odriozola, JA
Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, 117 (2009) 530-534


Silica monospheres with a diameter of 330 nm modified with aminosilane compounds of three different basicities have been prepared. Surface coverage of the silica with an organic compound leads to an increase of the point of zero charge (PZC) of the silica surface from 2.1 to 5.1, 6.5 and 7.2 values, depending on the amine used. From these silicas, gold-containing catalysts have been prepared by a deposition–precipitation method at the same pH as the PZC of the support. The best results have been obtained using 3-(Diethoxymethylsilyl) propylamine as a modifying agent, which has allowed obtaining a good dispersion of the gold particles with an average size of 3.8 nm.

Enero, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.micromeso.2008.07.041