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Title: Sliding wear resistance of biomorphic SiC ceramics
Author(s): Vera, MC; Ramirez-Rico, J; Martinez-Fernandez, J; Singh, M
Source: International Journal of Refractory Metals & Hard Materials, 49 (2015) 327-333
abstract | fulltext

Biomorphic SiC ceramics were fabricated from four different wood precursors and their Knoop hardness and sliding wear resistance when sliding against a Si3N4 ball in air were studied. Tribological experiments were performed using a pin on disk apparatus, under normal loads of 2 and 5 N, at a sliding speed of 100 mm/s. The effects of specimen porosity and microstructure on measured wear were evaluated. A commercial sintered silicon carbide ceramic was also tested for comparison. Small differences in friction coefficient comparable to monolithic SiC ceramics were obtained. Several concurrent wear mechanisms are taking place: microfracture, plastic deformation in the Si phase and oxidation of the Si and/or SiC phase. The presence of an oxide tribolayer was assessed using fluorescence microscopy. Wear rates were found to scale with SiC content and depend on residual porosity in the composite.

February, 2015 | DOI: 10.1016/j.ijrmhm.2014.07.004

Title: Up-conversion in Er3+/Yb3+ co-doped LaPO4 submicron-sized spheres
Author(s): Garcia-Sevillano, J.; Cantelar, E.; Cusso, F.; Ocana, M.
Source: Optical Materials, 41 (2015) 104-107
abstract | fulltext

Er3+/Yb3+ co-doped materials have been extensively used for imaging in biomedical applications using either visible up-converted (UC) or near-infrared (NIR) emissions. The UC spectrum is composed mainly by two Erbium emissions in the green (2H11/2:4S3/2 → 4I15/2) and red (4F9/2 → 4I15/2) spectral range, while the NIR spectrum includes Er3+ (λ ∼ 1.5 μm, 4I13/2 → 4I15/2) and Er3+/Yb3+ (λ ∼ 980 nm, 2F5/2 → 2F7/2(Yb3+):4I11/2 → 4I15/2 (Er3+)) transitions; which relative intensities are dependent on several physical parameters. In the present work, we present the preparation and optical characterization of Er3+/Yb3+ co-doped LaPO4 submicron-sized spheres. The luminescence (CW and pulsed) characteristics, after different post-annealing treatments, are studied. It is found that such treatments strongly increment the emission efficiency, possibly due to the suppression of residual impurities. After calcination at 1100 °C the material behaves as an excellent UC and NIR–NIR wavelength converter.

February, 2015 | DOI: 10.1016/j.optmat.2014.10.022

Title: Transmission electron microscopy of thiol-capped Au clusters on C: Structure and electron irradiation effects
Author(s): Lionel C. Gontard, Rafal E. Dunin-Borkowski
Source: Micron
abstract | fulltext

High-resolution transmission electron microscopy is used to study interactions between thiol-capped Au clusters and amorphous C support films. The morphologies of the clusters are found to depend both on their size and on the local structure of the underlying C. When the C is amorphous, larger Au clusters are crystalline, while smaller clusters are typically disordered. When the C is graphitic, the Au particles adopt either elongated shapes that maximize their contact with the edge of the C film or planar arrays when they contain few Au atoms. We demonstrate the influence of electron beam irradiation on the structure, shape and stability of the Au clusters, as well as on the formation of holes bounded by terraces of graphitic lamellae in the underlying C.

February, 2015 | DOI: 10.1016/j.micron.2014.12.001

Title: Ionic liquid immobilization on carbon nanofibers and zeolites: Catalyst design for the liquid-phase toluene chlorination
Author(s): Losch, Pit; Martinez Pascual, Antonio; Boltz, Marilyne; Ivanova, Svetlana; Louis, Benoit; Montilla, Francisco; Antonio Odriozola, Jose
Source: Comptes Rendus Chimie, 18 (2015) 324-329
abstract | fulltext

The environmental-friendly chlorination reaction of toluene by trichloroisocyanuric acid (TCCA, C3N3O3Cl3) was investigated applying immobilized ionic liquids (ILs) on different supports. Ionic liquids were grafted either on carbon nanofibers (CNF) or encapsulated in zeolites. Their influence on the chlorination activity as well as on the selectivity in different chlorinated products was studied. An unusually high selectivity toward meta-chlorotoluene was achieved, up to 36%. Hence, the selectivity could be tuned to produce either expected ortho-/para-chlorotoluene or meta-chlorotoluene with a proper support choice. 

February, 2015 | DOI: 10.1016/j.crci.2014.06.006

Title: Microstructure, elastic and inelastic properties of partially graphitized biomorphic carbons
Author(s): Orlova, TS; Kardashev, BK; Smirnov, BI; Gutierrez-Pardo, A; Ramirez-Rico, J; Martinez-Fernandez, J
Source: Physics of the Solid State, 57 (2015) 586-591
abstract | fulltext

The microstructural characteristics and amplitude dependences of the Young's modulus E and internal friction (logarithmic decrement delta) of biocarbon matrices prepared by beech wood carbonization at temperatures T (carb) = 850-1600A degrees C in the presence of a nickel-containing catalyst have been studied. Using X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy, it has been shown that the use of a nickel catalyst during carbonization results in a partial graphitization of biocarbons at T (carb) a parts per thousand yen 1000A degrees C: the graphite phase is formed as 50- to 100-nm globules at T (carb) = 1000A degrees C and as 0.5- to 3.0-mu m globules at T (carb) = 1600A degrees C. It has been found that the measured dependences E(T (carb)) and delta(T (carb)) contain three characteristic ranges of variations in the Young's modulus and logarithmic decrement with a change in the carbonization temperature: E increases and delta decreases in the ranges T (carb) < 1000A degrees C and T (carb) > 1300A degrees C; in the range 1000 < T (carb) < 1300A degrees C, E sharply decreases and delta increases. The observed behavior of E(T (carb)) and delta(T (carb)) for biocarbons carbonized in the presence of nickel correlates with the evolution of their microstructure. The largest values of E are obtained for samples with T (carb) = 1000 and 1600A degrees C. However, the samples with T (carb) = 1600A degrees C exhibit a higher susceptibility to microplasticity due to the presence of a globular graphite phase that is significantly larger in size and total volume.

February, 2015 | DOI: 10.1134/S106378341503018X

Title: Evolution of H-2 photoproduction with Cu content on CuOx-TiO2 composite catalysts prepared by a microemulsion method
Author(s): Kubacka, A; Munoz-Batista, MJ; Fernandez-Garcia, M; Obregon, S; Colon, G
Source: Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 163 (2015) 214-222
abstract | fulltext

Copper oxides in contact with anatase correspond to promising materials with high activity in the photo-production of hydrogen by aqueous reforming of alcohols. By a single pot microemulsion method we obtained a series of Cu-Ti composite systems with controlled copper content in the 0-25 wt.% range. The scanning of such a wide range of composition led to the discovery of two well differentiated maxima in the photo-reaction performance. These maxima present rather high and relatively similar reaction rates and photonic efficiencies but are ascribed to the presence of different copper species. A multi-technique analysis of the materials indicates that the maxima obtained comes from optimizing different steps of the reaction; while the first would be connected with a positive effect on anatase charge handling performance the second seems exclusively related to electron capture by surface copper species.

January, 2015 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apcatb.2014.08.005

Title: Synthesis and application of layered titanates in the photocatalytic degradation of phenol
Author(s): Ivanova, S; Penkova, A; Hidalgo, MD; Navio, JA; Romero-Sarria, F; Centeno, MA; Odriozola, JA
Source: Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 163 (2015) 23-29
abstract | fulltext

This study proposes a direct synthetic route to single titanate sheets through the mild and versatile conditions of the “chimie douce”. The stages of the production include the complexation of the titanium alkoxide precursor by benzoic acid, the formation of titanium oxo-clusters and their controlled transformation into single sheet titanates during the hydrolysis stage. The resulted material appears to be an excellent precursor for self-organized TiO2 nanotubes formation which presents an excellent activity as photocatalyst in the photo-degradation of phenol.

January, 2015 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apcatb.2014.07.048

Title: Laser Treatment of Ag@ZnO Nanorods as Long-Life-Span SERS Surfaces
Author(s): Macias-Montero, M; Pelaez, RJ; Rico, VJ; Saghi, Z; Midgley, P; Afonso, CN; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR; Borras, A
Source: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 7 (2015) 2331-2339
abstract | fulltext

UV nanosecond laser pulses have been used to produce a unique surface nanostructuration of Ag@ZnO supported nanorods (NRs). The NRs were fabricated by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) at low temperature applying a silver layer as promoter. The irradiation of these structures with single nanosecond pulses of an ArF laser produces the melting and reshaping of the end of the NRs that aggregate in the form of bundles terminated by melted ZnO spherical particles. Well-defined silver nanoparticles (NPs), formed by phase separation at the surface of these melted ZnO particles, give rise to a broad plasmonic response consistent with their anisotropic shape. Surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) in the as-prepared Ag@ZnO NRs arrays was proved by using a Rhodamine 6G (Rh6G) chromophore as standard analyte. The surface modifications induced by laser treatment improve the stability of this system as SERS substrate while preserving its activity.

January, 2015 | DOI: 10.1021/am506622x

Title: Water splitting performance of Er3+-doped YVO4 prepared from a layered K3V5O14 precursor
Author(s): Obregon, S; Colon, G
Source: Chemical Engineering Journal, 262 (2015) 29-33
abstract | fulltext

Erbium-doped YVO4 have been synthesized by means of a simple solution method having good photo activities under UV-like excitation for the water splitting half reactions. From the structural and morphological characterization it has been stated that the presence of Er3+ induces the promotion of luminescence. Moreover the incorporation of erbium clearly affects to the morphology YVO4 leading to 200 nm size well-defined spindle-like particles. The improved photocatalytic performance might be associated to a better electron–hole separation mechanism, probably due to the slight increase of band-gap value. The obtained photoactivities for H2 and O2 evolution reactions make this material a promising candidate for water splitting reactions.

January, 2015 | DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2014.09.073

Title: Ultra-fast and energy-efficient sintering of ceramics by electric current concentration
Author(s): Zapata-Solvas, E; Gomez-Garcia, D; Dominguez-Rodriguez, A; Todd, RI
Source: Scientific Reports, 5 (2015) art n. 8513
abstract | fulltext

Electric current activated/assisted sintering (ECAS) techniques, such as electrical discharge sintering (EDS) or resistive sintering (RS), have been intensively investigated for longer than 50 years. In this work, a novel system including an electrically insulated graphite die for Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) is described, which allows the sintering of any refractory ceramic material in less than 1 minute starting from room temperature with heating rates higher than 2000°C/min and an energy consumption up to 100 times lower than with SPS. The system alternates or combines direct resistive sintering (DRS) and indirect resistive sintering (IRS). Electrical insulation of the die has been achieved through the insertion of a film made of alumina fibers between the graphite die and the graphite punches, which are protected from the alumina fiber film by a graphite foil. This system localized the electric current directly through the sample (conductive materials) as in DRS and EDS, or through the thin graphite foil (non-conductive materials) as in IRS, and is the first system capable of being used under EDS or RS conditions independently combining current concentration/localization phenomena.

January, 2015 | DOI: 10.1038/srep08513