A Comparative Study of Single- and Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube Incorporation to Indium Tin Oxide Electrodes for Solar Cells

Alternative electrode materials for optoelectronic devices have been widely investigated in recent years. Since indium tin oxide (ITO) is the most preferred transparent conductive electrode, producing ITO films by simple and cost-effective solution-based techniques with enhanced optical and electrical properties has great importance. In this study, single- and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT and MWCNT) incorporated into the ITO structure to increase electrical conductivity, mechanical strength, and chemical stability. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were firstly functionalized by acid treatment (HNO3:H2SO4), and the thermal resistance of CNTs after functionalization was determined by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). Thin films were then prepared by spin coating technique and characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), four-point probe measurement system and UV-Vis spectrophotometer. The effects of process parameters were compared for ITO, MWCNT-ITO, and SWCNT-ITO films. Two factors including CNT concentration and annealing temperature were considered. The UV-Vis measurements demonstrated that the transmittance of ITO films was 83.58% at 550 nm, which was decreased depending on the concentration of CNT dopant. On the other hand, both CNT dopants provided an enhancement in the crystalline structure and electrical conductivity. Due to compatible diameter and better dispersibility of SWCNTs in the ITO solution, the best result in terms of electrical conductivity was obtained by SWCNT-ITO films with the 0.1 g/L SWCNT dopant concentration and heat-treatment at 550 °C for 1 hour.

Investigation of Physical Properties of Asphalt Binder Modified by Recycled Polyethylene and Ground Tire Rubber

Modification of asphalt is a fundamental method around the world mainly on the purpose of providing more durable pavements which lead to diminish repairing cost during the lifetime of highways. Various polymers such as styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) make up the greater parts of the all-over asphalt modifiers generally providing better physical properties of asphalt by decreasing temperature dependency which eventually diminishes permanent deformation on highways such as rutting. However, some waste and low-cost materials such as recycled plastics and ground rubber tire have been attempted to utilize in asphalt as modifier instead of manufactured polymer modifiers due to decreasing the eventual highway cost. On the other hand, the usage of recycled plastics has become a worldwide requirement and awareness in order to decrease the pollution made by waste plastics. Hence, finding an area in which recycling plastics could be utilized has been targeted by many research teams so as to reduce polymer manufacturing and plastic pollution. To this end, in this paper, thermoplastic dynamic vulcanizate (TDV) obtained from recycled post-consumer polyethylene and ground tire rubber (GTR) were used to provide an efficient modifier for asphalt which decreases the production cost as well and finally might provide an ecological solution by decreasing polymer disposal problems. TDV was synthesized by the chemists in the research group by means of the abovementioned components that are considered as compatible physical characteristic of asphalt materials. TDV modified asphalt samples having different rate of proportions of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 wt.% TDV modifier were prepared. Conventional tests, such as penetration, softening point and roll thin film oven (RTFO) tests were performed to obtain fundamental physical and aging properties of the base and modified binders. The high temperature performance grade (PG) of binders was determined by Superpave tests conducted on original and aged binders. The multiple stress creep and recovery (MSCR) test which is relatively up-to-date method for classifying asphalts taking account of their elasticity abilities was carried out to evaluate PG plus grades of binders. The results obtained from performance grading, and MSCR tests were also evaluated together so as to make a comparison between the methods both aiming to determine rheological parameters of asphalt. The test results revealed that TDV modification leads to a decrease in penetration, an increase in softening point, which proves an increasing stiffness of asphalt. DSR results indicate an improvement in PG for modified binders compared to base asphalt. On the other hand, MSCR results that are compatible with DSR results also indicate an enhancement on rheological properties of asphalt. However, according to the results, the improvement is not as distinct as observed in DSR results since elastic properties are fundamental in MSCR. At the end of the testing program, it can be concluded that TDV can be used as modifier which provides better rheological properties for asphalt and might diminish plastic waste pollution since the material is 100% recycled.

Simulation of Reflection Loss for Carbon and Nickel-Carbon Thin Films

Maximal radar wave absorbing cannot be achieved by shaping alone. We have to focus on the parameters of absorbing materials such as permittivity, permeability, and thickness so that best absorbing according to our necessity can happen. The real and imaginary parts of the relative complex permittivity (εr' and εr") and permeability (µr' and µr") were obtained by simulation. The microwave absorbing property of carbon and Ni(C) is simulated in this study by MATLAB software; the simulation was in the frequency range between 2 to 12 GHz for carbon black (C), and carbon coated nickel (Ni(C)) with different thicknesses. In fact, we draw reflection loss (RL) for C and Ni-C via frequency. We have compared their absorption for 3-mm thickness and predicted for other thicknesses by using of electromagnetic wave transmission theory. The results showed that reflection loss position changes in low frequency with increasing of thickness. We found out that, in all cases, using nanocomposites as absorbance cannot get better results relative to pure nanoparticles. The frequency where absorption is maximum can determine the best choice between nanocomposites and pure nanoparticles. Also, we could find an optimal thickness for long wavelength absorbing in order to utilize them in protecting shields and covering.

Planar Plasmonic Terahertz Waveguides for Sensor Applications

We investigate sensing capabilities of a planar plasmonic THz waveguide. The waveguide is comprised of one dimensional array of periodically arranged sub wavelength scale corrugations in the form of rectangular dimples in order to ensure the plasmonic response. The THz waveguide transmission is observed for polyimide (as thin film) substance filling the dimples. The refractive index of the polyimide film is varied to examine various sensing parameters such as frequency shift, sensitivity and Figure of Merit (FoM) of the fundamental plasmonic resonance supported by the waveguide. In efforts to improve sensing characteristics, we also examine sensing capabilities of a plasmonic waveguide having V shaped corrugations and compare results with that of rectangular dimples. The proposed study could be significant in developing new terahertz sensors with improved sensitivity utilizing the plasmonic waveguides.

Analysis of Impact Load Induced by Ultrasonic Cavitation Bubble Collapse Using Thin Film Pressure Sensors

The understanding of generation and collapse of acoustic cavitation bubbles are prerequisites for application of cavitation erosion. Microbubbles generated due to rapid fluctuation of pressure induced by propagation of ultrasonic wave lead to formation of high velocity microjets and or shock waves upon collapse. Due to vast application of ultrasonic, it is important to characterize and understand cavitation collapse pressure under the radiating surface at different conditions. A comparative investigation is carried out to determine impact load and dynamic pressure distribution exerted upon bubble collapse using thin film pressure sensors. Measurements were recorded at different input conditions such as amplitude, stand-off distance, insertion depth of the horn inside the liquid and pulse on-off time of acoustic vibrations. Impact force of 2.97 N is recorded at amplitude of 108 μm and stand-off distance of 1 mm from the sensor film, whereas impulsive force as low as 0.4 N is recorded at amplitude of 12 μm and stand-off distance of 5 mm from the sensor film. The results drawn from the investigation indicated that variety of impact loads can be achieved by controlling generation and collapse of bubbles, making it suitable to use for numerous application.

Corrosion Behaviour of Hypereutectic Al-Si Automotive Alloy in Different pH Environment

Corrosion behaviour of hypereutectic Al-19Si automotive alloy in different pH=1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13 environments was carried out using conventional gravimetric measurements and was complemented by resistivity, optical micrograph, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray analyzer (EDX) investigations. Gravimetric analysis confirmed that the highest corrosion rate is shown at pH 13 followed by pH 1. Minimum corrosion occurs in the pH range of 3.0 to 11 due to establishment of passive layer on the surface. The highest corrosion rate at pH 13 is due to the presence of sodium hydroxide in the solution which dissolves the surface oxide film at a steady rate. At pH 1, it can be attributed that the presence of aggressive chloride ions serves to pick up the damage of the passive films at localized regions. With varying exposure periods by both, the environment complies with the normal corrosion rate profile that is an initial steep rise followed by a nearly constant value of corrosion rate. Resistivity increases in case of pH 1 solution for the higher pit formation and decreases at pH 13 due to formation of thin film. The SEM image of corroded samples immersed in pH 1 solution clearly shows pores on the surface and in pH 13 solution, and the corrosion layer seems more compact and homogenous and not porous.

Preparation of Sorbent Materials for the Removal of Hardness and Organic Pollutants from Water and Wastewater

Ecological pollution is of great concern for human health and the environment. Numerous organic and inorganic pollutants usually discharged into the water caused carcinogenic or toxic effect for human and different life form. In this respect, this work aims to treat water contaminated by organic and inorganic waste using sorbent based on polystyrene. Therefore, two different series of adsorbent material were prepared; the first one included the preparation of polymeric sorbent from the reaction of styrene acrylate ester and alkyl acrylate. The second series involved syntheses of composite ion exchange resins of waste polystyrene and   amorphous carbon thin film (WPS/ACTF) by solvent evaporation using micro emulsion polymerization. The produced ACTF/WPS nanocomposite was sulfonated to produce cation exchange resins ACTF/WPSS nanocomposite. The sorbents of the first series were characterized using FTIR, 1H NMR, and gel permeation chromatography. The thermal properties of the cross-linked sorbents were investigated using thermogravimetric analysis, and the morphology was characterized by scanning electron microscope (SEM). The removal of organic pollutant was determined through absorption tests in a various organic solvent. The chemical and crystalline structure of nanocomposite of second series has been proven by studies of FTIR spectrum, X-rays, thermal analysis, SEM and TEM analysis to study morphology of resins and ACTF that assembled with polystyrene chain. It is found that the composite resins ACTF/WPSS are thermally stable and show higher chemical stability than ion exchange WPSS resins. The composite resin was evaluated for calcium hardness removal. The result is evident that the ACTF/WPSS composite has more prominent inorganic pollutant removal than WPSS resin. So, we recommend the using of nanocomposite resin as new potential applications for water treatment process.

Magneto-Optical Properties in Transparent Region of Implanted Garnet Films

We investigated magneto-optical Kerr effect in transparent region of implanted ferrite-garnet films for the (YBiCa)3(FeGe)5O12. The implantation process was carried out at room temperature by Ne+ ions with energy of 100 KeV and with various doses (0.5-2.5) 1014 ion/cm2. We discovered that slight deviation of the plane of external alternating magnetic field from plane of sample leads to appearance intensive magneto-optical maximum in transparent region of garnet films ħω=0.5-2.0 eV. In the proceeding, we have also found that the deviation of polarization plane from P- component of incident light leads to the appearance of the similar magneto-optical effects in this region. The research of magnetization processes in transparent region of garnet films showed that the formation of magneto-optical effects in region ħω=0.5-2.3 eV has a rather complex character.

Lab Activities for Introducing Nanoscience to Teachers and Students

Nanoscience has become one of the main science fields in the world; its importance is reflected in both society and industry; therefore, it is very important to intensify educational programs among teachers and students that aim to introduce "Nano Concepts" to them. Two different lab activities were developed for demonstrating the importance of nanoscale materials using unique points of view. In the first, electrical conductive films made of silver nanoparticles were fabricated. The silver nanoparticles were protected against aggregation using electrical conductive polypyrrole, which acts also as conductive bridge between them. The experiments show a simpler way for fabricating conductive thin film than the much more complicated and costly conventional method. In the second part, the participants could produce emulsions of liposome structures using Phosphatidylcholine as a surfactant, and following by minimizing the size of it from micro-scale to nanometer scale (400 nm), using simple apparatus called Mini-Extruder, in that way the participants could realize the change in solution transparency, and the effect of Tyndall when the size of the liposomes is reduced. Freshmen students from the Academic Arab College for Education in Haifa, Israel, who are studying to become science teachers, participated in this lab activity as part of the course "Chemistry in the Lab". These experiments are appropriate for teachers, high school and college students.

Comparison between the Efficiency of Heterojunction Thin Film InGaP\GaAs\Ge and InGaP\GaAs Solar Cell

This paper presents the design parameters for a thin film 3J InGaP/GaAs/Ge solar cell with a simulated maximum efficiency of 32.11% using Tcad Silvaco. Design parameters include the doping concentration, molar fraction, layers’ thickness and tunnel junction characteristics. An initial dual junction InGaP/GaAs model of a previous published heterojunction cell was simulated in Tcad Silvaco to accurately predict solar cell performance. To improve the solar cell’s performance, we have fixed meshing, material properties, models and numerical methods. However, thickness and layer doping concentration were taken as variables. We, first simulate the InGaP\GaAs dual junction cell by changing the doping concentrations and thicknesses which showed an increase in efficiency. Next, a triple junction InGaP/GaAs/Ge cell was modeled by adding a Ge layer to the previous dual junction InGaP/GaAs model with an InGaP /GaAs tunnel junction.

Development of a Nano-Alumina-Zirconia Composite Catalyst as an Active Thin Film in Biodiesel Production

A nano-alumina-zirconia composite catalyst was synthesized by a simple aqueous sol-gel method using AlCl3.6H2O and ZrCl4 as precursors. Thermal decomposition of the precursor and subsequent formation of γ-Al2O3 and t-Zr were investigated by thermal analysis. XRD analysis showed that γ-Al2O3 and t-ZrO2 phases were formed at 700 °C. FT-IR analysis also indicated that the phase transition to γ-Al2O3 occurred in corroboration with X-ray studies. TEM analysis of the calcined powder revealed that spherical particles were in the range of 8-12 nm. The nano-alumina-zirconia composite particles were mesoporous and uniformly distributed in their crystalline phase. In order to measure the catalytic activity, esterification reaction was carried out. Biodiesel, as a renewable fuel, was formed in a continuous packed column reactor. Free fatty acid (FFA) was esterified with ethanol in a heterogeneous catalytic reactor. It was found that the synthesized γ-Al2O3/ZrO2 composite had the potential to be used as a heterogeneous base catalyst for biodiesel production processes.

Preparation of CuAlO2 Thin Films on Si or Sapphire Substrate by Sol-Gel Method Using Metal Acetate or Nitrate

CuAlO2 thin films are prepared on Si or sapphire substrate by sol-gel method using two kinds of sols. One is combination of Cu acetate and Al acetate basic, and the other is Cu nitrate and Al nitrate. In the case of acetate sol, XRD peaks of CuAlO2 observed at annealing temperature of 800-950 ºC on both Si and sapphire substrates. In contrast, in the case of the films prepared using nitrate on Si substrate, XRD peaks of CuAlO2 have been observed only at the annealing temperature of 800-850 ºC. At annealing temperature of 850ºC, peaks of other species have been observed beside the CuAlO2 peaks, then, the CuAlO2 peaks disappeared at annealing temperature of 900 °C with increasing in intensity of the other peaks. Intensity of the other peaks decreased at annealing temperature of 950 ºC with appearance of broad SiO2 peak. In the present, we ascribe these peaks as metal silicide.

Investigation about Structural and Optical Properties of Bulk and Thin Film of 1H-CaAlSi by Density Functional Method

Optical properties of bulk and thin film of 1H-CaAlSi for two directions (1,0,0) and (0,0,1) were studied. The calculations are carried out by Density Functional Theory (DFT) method using full potential. GGA approximation was used to calculate exchange-correlation energy. The calculations are performed by WIEN2k package. The results showed that the absorption edge is shifted backward 0.82eV in the thin film than the bulk for both directions. The static values of the real part of dielectric function for four cases were obtained. The static values of the refractive index for four cases are calculated too. The reflectivity graphs have shown an intensive difference between the reflectivity of the thin film and the bulk in the ultraviolet region.

Resveratrol Incorporated Liposomes Prepared from Pegylated Phospholipids and Cholesterol

Liposomes and pegylated liposomes were widely used as drug delivery system in pharmaceutical field since a long time. However, in the former time, polyethylene glycol (PEG) was connected into phospholipid after the liposomes were already prepared. In this paper, we intend to study the possibility of applying phospholipids which already connected with PEG and then they were used to prepare liposomes. The model drug resveratrol was used because it can be applied against different diseases. Cholesterol was applied to stabilize the membrane of liposomes. The thin film technique in a laboratory scale was a preparation method. The liposomes were then characterized by nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA), photon correlation spectroscopy (PCS) and light microscopic techniques. The stable liposomes can be produced and the particle sizes after filtration were in nanometers. The 2- and 3-chains-PEG-phospholipid (PL) caused in smaller particle size than the 4-chains-PEG-PL. Liposomes from PL 90G and cholesterol were stable during storage at 8 °C of 56 days because the particle sizes measured by PCS were almost not changed. There was almost no leakage of resveratrol from liposomes PL 90G with cholesterol after diffusion test in dialysis tube for 28 days. All liposomes showed the sustained release during measuring time of 270 min. The maximum release amount of 16-20% was detected with liposomes from 2- and 3-chains-PEG-PL. The other liposomes gave max. release amount of resveratrol only of 10%. The release kinetic can be explained by Korsmeyer-Peppas equation. 

Determination of Optical Constants of Semiconductor Thin Films by Ellipsometry

Ellipsometry is an optical method based on the study of the behavior of polarized light. The light reflected on a surface induces a change in the polarization state which depends on the characteristics of the material (complex refractive index and thickness of the different layers constituting the device). The purpose of this work is to determine the optical properties of semiconductor thin films by ellipsometry. This paper describes the experimental aspects concerning the semiconductor samples, the SE400 ellipsometer principle, and the results obtained by direct measurements of ellipsometric parameters and modelling using appropriate software.

Electrophysical and Thermoelectric Properties of Nano-scaled In2O3:Sn, Zn, Ga-Based Thin Films: Achievements and Limitations for Thermoelectric Applications

The thermoelectric properties of nano-scaled In2O3:Sn films deposited by spray pyrolysis are considered in the present report. It is shown that multicomponent In2O3:Sn-based films are promising material for the application in thermoelectric devices. It is established that the increase in the efficiency of thermoelectric conversion at CSn~5% occurred due to nano-scaled structure of the films studied and the effect of the grain boundary filtering of the low energy electrons. There are also analyzed the limitations that may appear during such material using in devices developed for the market of thermoelectric generators and refrigerators. Studies showed that the stability of nano-scaled film’s parameters is the main problem which can limit the application of these materials in high temperature thermoelectric converters.

The Effect of the Deposition Parameters on the Microstructural and Optical Properties of Mn-Doped GeTe Chalcogenide Materials

In this work, the effect of the magnetron sputtering system parameters on the optical properties of the Mn doped GeTe were investigated. The optical properties of the Ge1-xMnxTe thin films with different thicknesses are determined by analyzing the transmittance and reflectance data. The energy band gaps of the amorphous Mn-doped GeTe thin films with different thicknesses were calculated. The obtained results demonstrated that the energy band gap values of the amorphous films are quite different and they are dependent on the films thicknesses. The extinction coefficients of amorphous Mn-doped GeTe thin films as function of wavelength for different thicknesses were measured. The results showed that the extinction coefficients of all films are varying inversely with their optical transmission. Moreover, the results emphasis that, not only the microstructure, electrical and magnetic properties of Mn doped GeTe thin films vary with the films thicknesses but also the optical properties differ with the film thickness.

Switching Studies on Ge15In5Te56Ag24 Thin Films

Germanium Telluride based quaternary thin film switching devices with composition Ge15In5Te56Ag24, have been deposited in sandwich geometry on glass substrate with aluminum as top and bottom electrodes. The bulk glassy form of the said composition is prepared by melt quenching technique. In this technique, appropriate quantity of elements with high purity are taken in a quartz ampoule and sealed under a vacuum of 10-5 mbar. Then, it is allowed to rotate in a horizontal rotary furnace for 36 hours to ensure homogeneity of the melt. After that, the ampoule is quenched into a mixture of ice - water and NaOH to get the bulk ingot of the sample. The sample is then coated on a glass substrate using flash evaporation technique at a vacuum level of 10-6 mbar. The XRD report reveals the amorphous nature of the thin film sample and Energy - Dispersive X-ray Analysis (EDAX) confirms that the film retains the same chemical composition as that of the base sample. Electrical switching behavior of the device is studied with the help of Keithley (2410c) source-measure unit interfaced with Lab VIEW 7 (National Instruments). Switching studies, mainly SET (changing the state of the material from amorphous to crystalline) operation is conducted on the thin film form of the sample. This device is found to manifest memory switching as the device remains 'ON' even after the removal of the electric field. Also it is found that amorphous Ge15In5Te56Ag24 thin film unveils clean memory type of electrical switching behavior which can be justified by the absence of fluctuation in the I-V characteristics. The I-V characteristic also reveals that the switching is faster in this sample as no data points could be seen in the negative resistance region during the transition to on state and this leads to the conclusion of fast phase change during SET process. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) studies are performed on the chosen sample to study the structural changes at the time of switching. SEM studies on the switched Ge15In5Te56Ag24 sample has shown some morphological changes at the place of switching wherein it can be explained that a conducting crystalline channel is formed in the device when the device switches from high resistance to low resistance state. From these studies it can be concluded that the material may find its application in fast switching Non-Volatile Phase Change Memory (PCM) Devices.

Measurement of Acoustic Loss in Nano-Layered Coating Developed for Thermal Noise Reduction

Structural relaxation processes in optical coatings represent a fundamental limit to the sensitivity of gravitational waves detectors, MEMS, optical metrology and entangled state experiments. To face this problem, many research lines are now active, in particular the characterization of new materials and novel solutions to be employed as coatings in future gravitational wave detectors. Nano-layered coating deposition is among the most promising techniques. We report on the measurement of acoustic loss of nm-layered composites (Ti2O/SiO2), performed with the GeNS nodal suspension, compared with sputtered λ/4 thin films nowadays employed.

Peeling Behavior of Thin Elastic Films Bonded to Rigid Substrate of Random Surface Topology

We study the fracture mechanics of peeling of thin films perfectly bonded to a rigid substrate of any random surface topology using an analytical formulation. A generalized theoretical model has been developed to determine the peel strength of thin elastic films. It is demonstrated that an improvement in the peel strength can be achieved by modifying the surface characteristics of the rigid substrate. Characterization study has been performed to analyze the effect of different parameters on effective peel force from the rigid surface. Different surface profiles such as circular and sinusoidal has been considered to demonstrate the bonding characteristics of film-substrate interface. Condition for the instability in the debonding of the film is analyzed, where the localized self-debonding arises depending upon the film and surface characteristics. This study is towards improved adhesion strength of thin films to rigid substrate using different textured surfaces.