Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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Role of Dielectric Screening in SrTiO3-Based Interfaces
We build a theoretical model for exploring the electronic properties of the two-dimensional (2D) electron gas that forms at the interface between insulating SrTiO3 (STO) and a number of perovskite materials including LaTiO3, LaAlO3, and GdTiO3. The model treats conduction electrons within a tight-binding approximation, and the dielectric polarization via a Landau-Devonshire free energy that incorporates STO's strongly nonlinear, nonlocal, field-, and temperature-dependent dielectric response. We consider three models for the dielectric polarization at the interface: an ideal-interface model in which the interface has the same permittivity as the bulk, a dielectric dead-layer model in which the interface has permittivity lower that the bulk, and an interfacial-strain model in which the strain effects are included. The ideal-interface model band structure comprises a mix of quantum 2D states that are tightly bound to the interface, and quasi-three-dimensional (3D) states that extend hundreds of unit cells into the STO substrate. We find that there is a substantial shift of electrons away from the interface into the 3D tails as temperature is lowered from 300 K to 10 K. We speculate that the quasi-3D tails form the low- density high-mobility component of the interfacial electron gas that is widely inferred from magnetoresistance measurements. Multiple experiments have observed a sharp Lifshitz transition in the band structure of STO interfaces as a function of applied gate voltage. To understand this transition, we first propose a dielectric dead-layer model. It successfully predicts the Lifshitz transition at a critical charge density close to the measured one, but does not give a complete description for the transition. Second, we use an interfacial-strain model in which we consider the electrostrictive and flexoelectric coupling between the strain and polarization. This coupling generates a thin polarized layer whose direction reverses at a critical density. The transition occurs concomitantly with the polarization reversal. In addition, we find that the model captures the two main features of the transition: the transition from one occupied band to multiple occupied bands, and the abrupt change in the slope of lowest energy band with doping. Author Keywords:
Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Aqueous and Confined Systems Relevant to the Supercritical Water Cooled Nuclear Reactor
Supercritical water (SCW) is the intended heat transfer fluid and potential neutron moderator in the proposed GEN-IV Supercritical Water Cooled Reactor (SCWR). The oxidative environment poses challenges in choosing appropriate design materials, and the behaviour of SCW within crevices of the passivation layer is needed for developing a corrosion control strategy to minimize corrosion. Molecular Dynamics simulations have been employed to obtain diffusion coefficients, coordination number and surface density characteristics, of water and chloride in nanometer-spaced iron hydroxide surfaces. Diffusion models for hydrazine are evaluated along with hydration data. Results demonstrate that water is more likely to accumulate on the surface at low density conditions. The effect of confinement on the water structure diminishes as the gap size increases. The diffusion coefficient of chloride decreases with larger surface spacing. Clustering of water at the surface implies that the SCWR will be most susceptible to pitting corrosion and stress corrosion cracking. Author Keywords: Confinement, Diffusion, Hydration, MD Simulations, Supercritcal Water
Novel Functional Materials From Renewable Lipids
Vegetable oils represent an ideal and renewable feedstock for the synthesis of a variety of functional materials. However, without financial incentive or unique applications motivating a switch, commercial products continue to be manufactured from petrochemical resources. Two different families of high value, functional materials synthesized from vegetable oils were studied. These materials demonstrate superior and unique performance to comparable petrochemical analogues currently on the market. In the first approach, 3 amphiphilic thermoplastic polytriazoles with differing lipophilic segment lengths were synthesized in a polymerization process without solvents or catalysts. Investigation of monomer structure influence on the resultant functional behaviour of these polymers found distinctive odd/even behaviour reliant on the number of carbon atoms in the monomers. Higher concentrations of triazole groups, due to shorter CH2 chains in the monomeric dialkynes, resulted in more brittle polymers, displaying higher tensile strengths but reduced elongation to break characteristics. These polymers had similar properties to commercial petroleum derived thermoplastics. One polymer demonstrated self-assembled surface microstructuring, and displayed hydrophobic properties. Antimicrobial efficacy of the polymers were tested by applying concentrated bacterial solutions to the surfaces, and near complete inhibition was demonstrated after 4 hours. Scanning electron microscope images of killed bacteria showed extensive membrane damage, consistent with the observed impact of other amphiphilic compounds in literature. These polytriazoles are suited for applications in medical devices and implants, where major concerns over antibiotic resistance are prevalent. In the second approach, a series of symmetric, saturated diester phase change materials (PCMs) were also synthesized with superior latent heat values compared to commercial petrochemical analogues. These diesters exhibit melting temperatures between 39 °C and 77 °C, with latent heats greater than 220 J/g; much greater than paraffin waxes, which are currently the industry standard. Assessment of the trends between differing monomer lengths, in terms of number of CH2 groups of the 24 diesters synthesized exhibited structure/function dependencies in latent heat values and phase change temperatures, providing an understanding of the influence of each monomer on PCM thermal properties. A synthetic procedure was developed to produce these PCMs from a low value biodiesel feedstock. Application of these PCMs in the thermoregulation of hot beverages was demonstrated using a representative diester. This PCM cooled a freshly brewed hot beverage to a desired temperature within 1 minute, compared to 18 minutes required for the control. Furthermore, the PCM kept the beverage within the desired temperature range for 235 minutes, 40 % longer than the control. Author Keywords: Antimicrobial Surface, Click Chemistry, Green Chemistry, Phase Change Material, Polytriazole, Renewable
Mitigating Cold Flow Problems of Biodiesel
The present thesis explores the cold flow properties of biodiesel and the effect of vegetable oil derived compounds on the crystallization path as well as the mechanisms at play at different stages and length scales. Model systems including triacylglycerol (TAG) oils and their derivatives, and a polymer were tested with biodiesel. The goal was to acquire the fundamental knowledge that would help design cold flow improver (CFI) additives that would address effectively and simultaneously the flow problems of biodiesel, particularly the cloud point (CP) and pour point (PP). The compounds were revealed to be fundamentally vegetable oil crystallization modifiers (VOCM) and the polymer was confirmed to be a pour point depressant (PPD). The results obtained with the VOCMs indicate that two cis-unsaturated moieties combined with a trans-/saturated fatty acid is a critical structural architecture for depressing the crystallization onset by a mechanism wherein while the straight chain promotes a first packing with the linear saturated FAMEs, the kinked moieties prevent further crystallization. The study of model binary systems made of a VOCM and a saturated FAME with DSC, XRD and PLM provided a complete phase diagram including the thermal transformation lines, crystal structure and microstructure that impact the phase composition along the different crystallization stages, and elicited the competing effects of molecular mass, chain length mismatch and isomerism. The liquid-solid boundary is discussed in light of a simple thermodynamic model based on the Hildebrand equation and pair interactions. In order to test for synergies, the PP and CP of a biodiesel (Soy1500) supplemented with several VOCM and PLMA binary cocktails were measured using a specially designed method inspired by ASTM standards. The results were impressive, the combination of additives depressed CP and PP better than any single additive. The PLM and DSC results suggest that the cocktail additives are most effective when the right molecular structure and optimal concentration are provided. The cocktail mixture achieves then tiny crystals that are prevented from aggregating for an extended temperature range. The results of the study can be directly used for the design of functional and economical CFI from vegetable oils and their derivatives. Author Keywords: Biodiesel, Microstructure, Polymorphism, Pour point depressants, Triacylglycerol, Vegetable Oil Based Crystal Modifier
Novel Aliphatic Lipid-Based Diesters for use in Lubricant Formulations
Structure-property relationships are increasingly valued for the identification of specifically engineered materials with properties optimized for targeted application(s). In this work, linear and branched diesters for use in lubricant formulations are prepared from lipid-based oleochemicals and their structure-property relationships reported. It is shown that the branched diesters possess exceptional physical property profiles, including suppression of crystallization, and are superior alternatives for use in lubricant formulations. For the linear aliphatic diesters, both high and low temperature properties were predictable functions of total chain length, and both were differently influenced by the fatty acid versus diol chain length. Symmetry did not influence either, although thermal stability decreased and thermal transition temperatures increased with increasing saturation. All of the linear diesters demonstrated Newtonian flow behaviour. Viscosity was also predictable as a function of total chain length; any microstructural features due to structural effects were superseded by mass effects. Author Keywords: Crystallization, Phase behaviour, Rheology, Structure-Function, Thermogravimetric analysis, Vegetable Oils
Synthesis of Lipid Based Polyols from 1-butene Metathesized Palm Oil for Use in Polyurethane Foam Applications
This thesis explores the use of 1-butene cross metathesized palm oil (PMTAG) as a feedstock for preparation of polyols which can be used to prepare rigid and flexible polyurethane foams. PMTAG is advantageous over its precursor feedstock, palm oil, for synthesizing polyols, especially for the preparation of rigid foams, because of the reduction of dangling chain effects associated with the omega unsaturated fatty acids. 1-butene cross metathesis results in shortening of the unsaturated fatty acid moieties, with approximately half of the unsaturated fatty acids assuming terminal double bonds. It was shown that the associated terminal OH groups introduced through epoxidation and hydroxylation result in rigid foams with a compressive strength approximately 2.5 times higher than that of rigid foams from palm and soybean oil polyols. Up to 1.5 times improvement in the compressive strength value of the rigid foams from the PMTAG polyol was further obtained following dry and/or solvent assisted fractionation of PMTAG in order to reduce the dangling chain effects associated with the saturated components of the PMTAG. Flexible foams with excellent recovery was achieved from the polyols of PMTAG and the high olein fraction of PMTAG indicating that these bio-derived polyurethane foams may be suitable for flexible foam applications. PMTAG polyols with controlled OH values prepared via an optimized green solvent free synthetic strategy provided flexible foams with lower compressive strength and higher recovery; i.e., better flexible foam potential compared to the PMTAG derived foams with non-controlled OH values. Overall, this study has revealed that the dangling chain issues of vegetable oils can be addressed in part using appropriate chemical and physical modification techniques such as cross metathesis and fractionation, respectively. In fact, the rigidity and the compressive strength of the polyurethane foams were in very close agreement with the percentage of terminal hydroxyl and OH value of the polyol. The results obtained from the study can be used to convert PMTAG like materials into industrially valuable materials. Author Keywords: Compressive Strength, Cross Metathesis, Fractionation, Polyols, Polyurethane Foams, Vegetable Oils
TWO-DIMENSIONAL CONDUCTIVITY AT LaAlO3/SrTiO3 INTERFACES
Experiments have observed a two-dimensional electron gas at the interface of two insulating oxides: strontium titanate (SrTiO3) and lanthanum aluminate (LaAlO3). These interfaces exhibit metallic, superconducting, and magnetic behaviours, which are strongly affected by impurities. Motivated by experiments, we introduce a simple model in which impurities lie at the interface. We treat the LaAlO3 as an insulator and model the SrTiO3 film. By solving a set of self-consistent Hartree equations for the charge density, we obtain the band structure of the SrTiO3 film. We then study the relative contributions made by the occupied bands to the two-dimensional conductivity of the LaAlO3/SrTiO3 interface. We find that the fractional conductivity of each band depends on several parameters: the mass anisotropy, the filling, and the impurity potential. Author Keywords: conductivity, impurities, insulating oxides, Two-dimensional electron gases
Heavy Rydberg Photo-dissociation Cross-section Calculations and Experimental Progress Towards Cold Collisions in Lithium
This thesis is divided into two parts, each of which supports constructing and using a lithium magneto-optical trap for cold collision studies: Part I One outgoing channel of interest from cold collisions is the production of ion pairs. We describe an effective method for calculating bound-to-continuum cross-sections for charged binary systems by examining transitions to states above the binding energy that become bound when the system is placed within an infinite spherical well. This approach is verified for ionization of a hydrogen atom, and is then applied to the heavy Rydberg system Li+...I-. Part II A wavemeter previously built in the lab is redesigned for increased reliability and ease of use by replacing the optical hardware with a rocker system, which can be aligned in mere minutes rather than half a day as was previously the case. The new wavemeter has been tested through saturated absorption spectroscopy of lithium. Author Keywords: cross-section, dissociation, lithium, magneto-optical trap, Michelson, wavemeter
"Multimodal Contrast" from the Multivariate Analysis of Hyperspectral CARS Images
The typical contrast mechanism employed in multimodal CARS microscopy involves the use of other nonlinear imaging modalities such as two-photon excitation fluorescence (TPEF) microscopy and second harmonic generation (SHG) microscopy to produce a molecule-specific pseudocolor image. In this work, I explore the use of unsupervised multivariate statistical analysis tools such as Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Vertex Component Analysis (VCA) to provide better contrast using the hyperspectral CARS data alone. Using simulated CARS images, I investigate the effects of the quadratic dependence of CARS signal on concentration on the pixel clustering and classification and I find that a normalization step is necessary to improve pixel color assignment. Using an atherosclerotic rabbit aorta test image, I show that the VCA algorithm provides pseudocolor contrast that is comparable to multimodal imaging, thus showing that much of the information gleaned from a multimodal approach can be sufficiently extracted from the CARS hyperspectral stack itself. Author Keywords: Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Scattering Microscopy, Hyperspectral Imaging, Multimodal Imaging, Multivariate Analysis, Principal Component Analysis, Vertex Component Analysis
Model for the Differential Susceptibility of Strontium Titanate
The appearance of a two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) in oxide interfaces between strontium titanate (STO) and other materials has become a major area of study. The behaviour of the 2DEG in STO is not well understood in part because the dielectric properties of STO are not well characterized. The differential susceptibility has a major impact on the electric fields within strontium titanate, and therefore to understand the 2DEG a better understanding of the susceptibility is needed. An expression for the soft mode phonon frequency of bulk strontium titanate is derived and used to model the susceptibility as a function of spatially homogeneous electric field, temperature and wavevector. This model is used to discuss the effect of spatially inhomogeneous electric fields and the local vs. nonlocal nature of the susceptibility. The critical exponents and the free energy are determined and discussed. Author Keywords: critical exponents, differential susceptibility, quantum paraelectric, strontium titanate
Phosphoric Acid Chemically Activated Waste Wood
Activated Carbon (AC) is commonly produced by gasification, but there has been increasing interest in chemical activation due to its lower activation temperatures and higher yields. Phosphoric acid, in particular, succeeds in both these areas. Phosphoric acid activated carbon (PAC) can be environmentally sustainable, and economically favourable, when the phosphoric acid used in the activation is recycled. This thesis describes the digestion and activation of waste wood using phosphoric acid, as well as methods used to recover phosphoric acid, functionalize the produced activated carbon with iron salts and then test their efficacy on the adsorption of target analytes, selenite and selenate. In order to achieve an efficient phosphoric acid based chemical activation, further understanding of the activation process is needed. A two-step phosphoric acid activation process with waste wood feed stock was examined. The filtrate washes of the crude product and the surface composition of the produced PAC were characterized using X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Fourier Transform-Infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), Ion Chromatography (IC), and 31P Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). XPS of the unwashed PAC contained 13.3 atomic percent phosphorous, as phosphoric acid, while the washed sample contained 1.4 atomic percent phosphorous as PO43-, and P2O74-. Using 31P NMR, phosphoric acid was identified as the primary phosphorous species in the acidic 0.1 M HCl washings, with pyrophosphates also appearing in the second 0.1 M NaOH neutralizing wash, and finally a weak signal from phosphates with an alkyl component also appearing in the DI wash. IC showed high concentrations of phosphoric acid in the 0.1 M HCl wash with progressively lower concentrations in both the NaOH and DI washes. Total phosphoric acid recovery was 96.7 % for waste wood activated with 25 % phosphoric acid, which is higher than previous literature findings for phosphoric acid activation. The surface areas of the PAC were in the 1500-1900 m2g-1 range. Both pre and post activation impregnation of iron salts resulted in iron uptake. Pre-activation resulted in only iron(III) speciation while post-activation impregnation of iron(II)chloride did result in iron(II) forming on the PAC surface. The pre-activated impregnated PAC showed little to no adsorption of selenite and selenate. The post-activation impregnated iron(II)chloride removed up to 12.45 ± 0.025 mg selenium per g Iron-PAC. Competitive ions such as sulfate and nitrate had little effect on selenium adsorption. Phosphate concentration did affect the uptake. At 250 ppm approximately 75 % of adsorption capacity of both the selenate and the selenite solutions was lost, although selenium was still preferentially adsorbed. Peak adsorption occurred between a pH of 4 and 11, with a complete loss of adsorption at a pH of 13. Author Keywords: Activated Carbon, doping, Iron, phosphoric acid, selenium
Modelling the Lanthanum Aluminate-Strontium Titanate Interface with a Modified Transverse Ising Model
In 2004 it was discovered that a two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) forms at the interface between lanthanum aluminate (LAO) and strontium titanate (STO). This 2DEG exhibits a variety of electronic and magnetic phenomena, motivating intense research into its applicability to electronic devices. Over the years several models have been developed in theoretical exploration of this system. Here, the transverse Ising model is applied to the LAO/STO interface for the first time. It is shown that the model as it is traditionally formulated cannot accurately predict the structure of the electron density at the interface. I show that this can be fixed with a simple modification of the model, and discuss how this modification affects both the polarization distribution in ferroelectric thin films and the electron density at the LAO/STO interface. The importance of including the depolarizing field when modelling spatially inhomogeneous ferroelectric systems is also explored. Author Keywords: ferroelectric thin film, lanthanum aluminate, strontium titanate, transverse Ising model, two-dimensional electron gas

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Format: 2021/02/25