Scientific Papers in SCI


Title: Perfectly Transparent Sr3Al2O6 Polycrystalline Ceramic Elaborated from Glass Crystallization
Author(s): Alahrache, S; Al Saghir, K; Chenu, S; Veron, E; Meneses, DD; Becerro, AI; Ocana, M; Moretti, F; Patton, G; Dujardin, C; Cusso, F; Guin, JP; Nivard, M; Sangleboeuf, JC; Matzen, G; Allix, M
Source: Chemistry of Materials, 25 (2013) 4017-4024

abstract | fulltext

The highly visible and infrared (up to 6 mu m) transparent Sr3Al2O6 polycrystalline ceramic was obtained by full crystallization of the corresponding glass composition. The glass synthesis and the direct congruent crystallization processes are described, and the material transparency is discussed in light of its microstructure. This new transparent ceramic exhibits a high density (i.e., complete absence of porosity) and micrometer-scale crystallites with very thin grain boundaries. These microstructural characteristics, inherent to the preparation method, minimize light scattering and demonstrate the advantages of this synthesis route compared to the high-pressure process used for the few reported transparent polycrystalline materials. This Sr3Al2O6 ceramic shows a H = 10.5 GPa hardness, a E-r = 150 GPa reduced elasticity modulus, and a 9.6 x 10(-6) K-1 thermal expansion coefficient. Such a transparent strontium aluminate ceramic opens the way to a wide range of applications, especially photonics when doped by various doping agents. As examples, the luminescence of Sr3Al2O6:Eu3+ and Sr3Al2O6:Er3+, which show strong emissions in the visible and infrared ranges, respectively, is presented. Moreover, the Sr3Al2O6:Ce3+ material was found to exhibit scintillation properties under X-ray excitation. Interestingly, the analogous Sr3Ga2O6 transparent polycrystalline ceramic material could equally be prepared using the same elaboration method, although its hygroscopicity prevents the preservation of its high transparency under normal conditions. The establishment of the key factors for the transparency of this economical and innovative synthesis method should enable the prediction of new classes of technologically relevant transparent ceramics.

October, 2013 | DOI: 10.1021/cm401953d

Title: Competing Misfit Relaxation Mechanisms in Epitaxial Correlated Oxides
Author(s): Sandiumenge, F; Santiso, J; Balcells, L; Konstantinovic, Z; Roqueta, J; Pomar, A; Espinos, JP; Martinez, B
Source: Physical Review Letters, 110 (2013) 107206

abstract | fulltext

Strain engineering of functional properties in epitaxial thin films of strongly correlated oxides exhibiting octahedral-framework structures is hindered by the lack of adequate misfit relaxation models. Here we present unreported experimental evidence of a four-stage hierarchical development of octahedral-framework perturbations resulting from a progressive imbalance between electronic, elastic, and octahedral tilting energies in La0.7Sr0.3MnO3 epitaxial thin films grown on SrTiO3 substrates. Electronic softening of the Mn-O bonds near the substrate leads to the formation of an interfacial layer clamped to the substrate with strongly degraded magnetotransport properties, i.e., the so-called dead layer, while rigid octahedral tilts become relevant at advanced growth stages without significant effects on charge transport and magnetic ordering.

March, 2013 | DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.107206

Title: Promotional effect of the base metal on bimetallic Au-Ni/CeO2 catalysts prepared from core-shell nanoparticles
Author(s): Holgado, JP; Ternero, F; Gonzalez-delaCruz, VM; Caballero, A
Source: ACS Catalysis, 3 (2013) 2169-2180

abstract | fulltext

A set of three catalysts (a Au–Ni bimetallic and their corresponding Au and Ni monometallics) has been prepared by impregnation of previously prepared suspensions of monodisperse metallic particles to ensure the precise control of their physicochemical characteristics (size and composition). The Au–Ni/CeO2 bimetallic catalysts present better reactivity toward CO oxidation than monometallic Au/CeO2 and Ni/CeO2 prepared under identical conditions. “operando-like” characterization of Ni and Au atoms into the bimetallic particles using, among other techniques, ambient-pressure photoelectron spectroscopy and diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy has allowed us to determine that under oxidative conditions the samples present a Au@NiO core–shell distribution, where Ni surface atoms are affected by an electronic effect from inner Au atoms.

September, 2013 | DOI: 10.1021/cs400293b

Title: Characterisation of Co@Fe3O4 core@shell nanoparticles using advanced electron microscopy
Author(s): Knappett, BR; Abdulkin, P; Ringe, E; Jefferson, DA; Lozano-Perez, S; Rojas, TC; Fernandez, A; Wheatley, AEH
Source: Nanoscale, 5 (2013) 5765-5772

abstract | fulltext

Cobalt nanoparticles were synthesised via the thermal decomposition of Co2(CO)8 and were coated in iron oxide using Fe(CO)5. While previous work focused on the subsequent thermal alloying of these nanoparticles, this study fully elucidates their composition and core@shell structure. State-of-the-art electron microscopy and statistical data processing enabled chemical mapping of individual particles through the acquisition of energy-filtered transmission electron microscopy (EFTEM) images and detailed electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) analysis. Multivariate statistical analysis (MSA) has been used to greatly improve the quality of elemental mapping data from core@shell nanoparticles. Results from a combination of spatially resolved microanalysis reveal the shell as Fe3O4 and show that the core is composed of oxidatively stable metallic Co. For the first time, a region of lower atom density between the particle core and shell has been observed and identified as a trapped carbon residue attributable to the organic capping agents present in the initial Co nanoparticle synthesis.

July, 2013 | DOI: 10.1039/C3NR33789H

Title: High temperature plasticity in yttria stabilised tetragonal zirconia polycrystals (Y-TZP)
Author(s): Dominguez-Rodriguez, A; Gomez-Garcia, D; Wakai, F
Source: International Materials Reviews, 58 (2013) 399-417

abstract | fulltext

The literature data on the superplastic deformation of high purity yttria stabilised tetragonal zirconia polycrystals is reviewed in detail. It is shown that, based on the existence of a threshold stress, the single mechanism of grain boundary sliding (GBS) accommodated by diffusional processes can explain the superplasticity of these materials over all the ranges of temperature, stress, grain size, and surrounding atmosphere that have been studied. The origin of the threshold stress and its quantitative dependence on temperature and grain size is explained in terms of the segregation of yttrium atoms at the grain boundaries. A new model for GBS accommodated by lattice or grain-boundary diffusion is presented which can explain the transition of the stress exponent from 2 to 1.

August, 2013 | DOI: 10.1179/1743280413Y.0000000018

Title: A single-source route to bulk samples of C3N and the co-evolution of graphitic carbon microspheres
Author(s): King, TC; Matthews, PD; Holgado, JP; Jefferson, DA; Lambert, RM; Alavi, A; Wright, DS
Source: Carbon, 64 (2013) 6-10

abstract | fulltext

The thermolysis of commercially available m-phenylenediamine (1,3-(NH2)2C6H4) at 800 °C under a static vacuum in a sealed quartz tube provides the first bulk synthesis of C3N, whose properties have only been predicted theoretically previously. Hollow carbon microspheres (CMSs) which do not contain significant nitrogen doping (1–3 μm diameter) are co-produced in the reaction and readily separated from the C3N flakes. The separate C3N flakes and CMSs have been characterized by electron microscopy, X-ray spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction. These studies show that the samples of C3N and CMSs both possess multi-layered turbostratic graphitic structures. A new mechanism for the template-free assembly of CMSs is proposed on the basis of electron microscopy that involves bubble evolution from a static carbonized layer.

November, 2013 | DOI: 10.1016/j.carbon.2013.04.043

Title: High-performance Er3+–TiO2 system: Dual up-conversion and electronic role of the lanthanide
Author(s): Obregon, S; Kubacka, A; Fernandez-Garcia, M; Colon, G
Source: Journal of Catalysis, 299 (2013) 298-306

abstract | fulltext

Erbium-doped TiO2 materials are synthesized by means of a surfactant-free hydrothermal method having good photoactivities for the liquid-phase degradation of phenol and MB and the gas phase of toluene. From the structural and morphological characterization, it has been stated that the presence of Er3+ induces a progressive anatase cell expansion due to its incorporation in the TiO2 lattice. The best photocatalytic performance was attained for the samples with 2 at% of Er3+ irrespective of the chemical degradation reaction essayed. From activity and optical studies under different irradiation excitation conditions, a dual-type mechanism is proposed to be at the origin of the photocatalytic activity enhancement. On one hand, the improvement observed under UV irradiation occurs by the effective charge separation promoted by Er3+ species which would act as electron scavenger. Besides, the up-conversion luminescence process of Er3+ allows profiting the NIR range of the lamp and transferring energy in the UV range to the TiO2. The dual action of Er ions located at anatase networks will open up a wide roadway for the developing of an integral solar active photocatalyst.

March, 2013 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jcat.2012.12.021

Title: Erbium doped TiO2–Bi2WO6 heterostructure with improved photocatalytic activity under sun-like irradiation
Author(s): Obregon, S; Colon, G
Source: Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 140-141 (2013) 299-305

abstract | fulltext

Erbium doped TiO2–Bi2WO6 have been synthesized by means of a surfactant free hydrothermal method having good photoactivities under sun-like excitation for the degradation of Rhodamine B. From the structural and morphological characterization it has been stated that the presence of Er3+ induces a progressive russelite cell contraction due to its incorporation in the Bi2WO6 lattice in substitutional sites. The best photocatalytic performance was attained for the samples with 1 at% of Er. From the study of the photocatalytic activity under different irradiation conditions it can be inferred that Er3+ presence induces a significant improvement of the photoactivity in the UV range. The evolution of band-gap values seems to be similarly related with the reaction rate progression. Thus, the higher band-gap values in lower Er doped systems would be the cause of a better electron hole separation under UV irradiation.

August, 2013 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apcatb.2013.04.014

Title: In situ FT-IR study of the adsorption and photocatalytic oxidation of ethanol over sulfated and metallized TiO2
Author(s): Murcia, JJ; Hidalgo, MC; Navio, JA; Arana, J; Dona-Rodriguez, JM
Source: Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 142-143 (2013) 205-213

abstract | fulltext

TiO2 Degussa P25, TiO2 prepared by sol–gel submitted to sulfation pre-treatment and some metallized catalysts obtained by photodeposition of Au or Pt over the sulfated TiO2, were evaluated in the reaction of ethanol photo-oxidation. FT-IR spectroscopy was used to investigate the surface features of the photocatalysts, identifying adsorbed species and following the evolution of intermediate products in the ethanol photo-oxidation reaction. Nature of surface acidity in terms of Brönsted and Lewis centers was also studied.

Results showed that sulfation pre-treatment and metallization were important factors influencing the selectivity. Acetaldehyde was the main oxidation product on sulfated TiO2; in the case of P25 also acetates production was observed. The photodeposition of metals had a detrimental effect on the selectivity to acetaldehyde; on metallized catalysts the formation of stable secondary intermediates was detected.

Based on these findings, a reaction pathway for the ethanol photo-oxidation over the different photocatalysts, via acetaldehyde or via acetate formation is proposed.

October, 2013 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apcatb.2013.05.022

Title: Liquids Analysis with Optofluidic Bragg Microcavities
Author(s): Oliva-Ramirez, M; Gonzalez-Garcia, L; Parra-Barranco, J; Yubero, F; Barranco, A; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR
Source: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 5 (2013) 6743-650

abstract | fulltext

Porous Bragg microcavities formed by stacking a series of porous nanocolumnar layers with alternate low (SiO2) and high (TiO2) refractive index materials have been prepared by physical vapor deposition at glancing angles (GLAD). By strictly controlling the porosity and refractive index of the individual films, as well as the relative orientation of the nanocolumns from one layer to the next, very porous and nondispersive high optical quality microcavities have been manufactured. These photonic structures have been implemented into responsive devices to characterize liquids, mixtures of liquids, or solutions flowing through them. The large displacements observed in the optical spectral features (Bragg reflector gap and resonant peak) of the photonic structures have been quantitatively correlated by optical modeling with the refractive index of the circulating liquids. Experiments carried out with different glucose and NaCl solutions and mixtures of water plus glycerol illustrate the potentialities of these materials to serve as optofluidic devices to determine the concentration of solutions or the proportion of two phases in a liquid mixture.

July, 2013 | DOI: 10.1021/am401685r

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