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2021


Tuning the excitation wavelength of luminescent Mn2+-doped ZnSxSe1-x obtained by mechanically induced self-sustaining reaction


Aviles, MA; Gotor, FJ
Optical Materials, 117 (2021) 111121

ABSTRACT

Mn2+-doped ZnSxSe1-x solid solution samples (Mn:ZnSxSe1-x) were synthesized by the mechanochemical process denoted as mechanically-induced self-sustaining reaction from Mn/Zn/S/Se powder elemental mixtures. The samples were characterized by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, diffuse reflectance UV-Vis spectroscopy and emission and excitation photoluminescence measurements. The band-gap energy of samples was controlled by changing the stoichiometry, x, of the solid solution. All samples showed the characteristic Mn2+ 4T1-6A1 emission at -588 nm when exciting the host material, so it was possible to tune the excitation wavelength from 349 nm to 467 nm. However, an efficiency loss was observed with increasing Se content, probably due to the overlap between the absorption and emission spectra that induced self-absorption and emission quenching.


July, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.optmat.2021.111121

New Trends in Nanoclay-Modified Sensors


Pavon, E; Martin-Rodriguez, R; Perdigon, AC; Alba, MD
Inorganics, 9 (2021) 43

ABSTRACT

Nanoclays are widespread materials characterized by a layered structure in the nano-scale range. They have multiple applications in diverse scientific and industrial areas, mainly due to their swelling capacity, cation exchange capacity, and plasticity. Due to the cation exchange capacity, nanoclays can serve as host matrices for the stabilization of several molecules and, thus, they can be used as sensors by incorporating electroactive ions, biomolecules as enzymes, or fluorescence probes. In this review, the most recent applications as bioanalyte sensors are addressed, focusing on two main detection systems: electrochemical and optical methods. Particularly, the application of electrochemical sensors with clay-modified electrodes (CLME) for pesticide detection is described. Moreover, recent advances of both electrochemical and optical sensors based on nanoclays for diverse bioanalytes' detection such as glucose, H2O2, organic acids, proteins, or bacteria are also discussed. As it can be seen from this review, nanoclays can become a key factor in sensors' development, creating an emerging technology for the detection of bioanalytes, with application in both environmental and biomedical fields.


June, 2021 | DOI: 10.3390/inorganics9060043

Thermal behaviour of the different parts of almond shells as waste biomass


Garzon, E; Arce, C; Callejon-Ferre, AJ; Perez-Falcon, JM; Sanchez-Soto, PJ
Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, (2021)

ABSTRACT

The main aim of this study is to investigate the thermal behaviour of the different parts of almond shells produced in an almond industry as a waste biomass. For this purpose, several experiments have been conducted under laboratory conditions. After removing the mature almonds, the waste raw materials subject of this study were treated with distilled water (10 min) and separated in several parts. Taking into account their physical characteristics, they were: (a) complete shells: exocarp, mesocarp and endocarp without grinding (Sample C); (b) ground samples of complete shells, sieved under 0.2 mm (Sample M); (c) hard layers of the endocarp (Sample E); (d) internal layers of the endocarp (Sample I); and (e) mature drupes (Sample P) or skin, being constituted by the flexible part of green colour (fresh form) or yellow (after drying). The thermal behaviour of all these sample materials has been investigated using a laboratory furnace, with determination of ash contents and mass loss by progressive heating (120 min of holding time). Elemental and DTA-TG/DTG analyses of selected sample materials have been carried out. Although a complete study can be very complex, a first approach has been performed in this investigation. Results on thermal decomposition of this biomass waste have been presented to emphasize the main differences between sample materials of almond shells. These results have demonstrated the influence of several parameters, such as the particle size, and previous treatments in the thermal behaviour of the different parts of the almond shells, as showed in this investigation. Structural analysis of almond shells allowed to determine lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose. From the lignin content, it has been predicted the higher heating value (18.24 MJkg(-1)) of this waste as by-product of industrial interest. Other linear correlations to calculate this parameter have been applied with similar results in all these samples.


June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1007/s10973-021-10940-x

Features of coupled AgBr/WO3 materials as potential photocatalysts


Puga, F.; Navío, J.A.; Hidalgo, M.C.
Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 867 (2021) 159191

ABSTRACT

AgBr/WO3 composite photocatalysts with different selected molar AgBr/WO3 ratios were prepared and widely characterized by XRD, N2-adsorption, SEM, TEM, UV–visible/DRS and XPS techniques. The samples were tested using rhodamine B (RhB) or caffeine, under two illumination conditions (UV and visible light). Although AgBr and WO3 pristine materials have relatively low band gap values (2.6 eV and 2.8 eV, respectively), they exhibit low or no photocatalytic activity under visible light, at least for caffeine degradation. This fact may be mainly related to a high recombination rate of photogenerated charge carriers in these samples. However, the coupling of both leads to a substantial improvement in the degradation of caffeine and RhB under both UV and visible lighting conditions. The increased photocatalytic activity found in the coupled systems with respect to the pristine materials can be attributed to the formation of a type II heterostructure in the coupled AgBr/WO3 samples. Our results show that for AgBr/WO3 coupled systems, kinetic degradation profiles have clear dependence on the molar percentages of the coupled pristine materials, as well as on the nature (sensitizing or not sensitizing effect) of the substrate. For caffeine photodegradation, the best performance was obtained when AgBr/WO3(10–15%) catalysts were used. The AgBr/WO3(20%) sample showed the best photocatalytic activity for rhodamine B degradation, exhibiting also excellent dark adsorption capacity (40–45%). Additionally, studies of activity in five consecutive tests showed a good RhB degradation during the successive reuses being involving a N-de-ethylation mechanism with the main O2•− radicals participation; relatively low mineralization percentages were observed, both under UV and visible light conditions. In these successive runs, no silver leaching to the medium was observed but a change from AgBr towards Ag2CO3 and/or AgxO was produced at the catalyst surface. These features should be known in the use of these systems as potential photocatalysts for practical applications.


June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jallcom.2021.159191

Swelling layered minerals applications: A solid state NMR overview


Pavon, E; Alba, MD
Progress in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, 124 (2021) 99-128

ABSTRACT

Swelling layered clay minerals form an important sub-group of the phyllosilicate family. They are characterized by their ability to expand or contract in the presence or absence of water. This property makes them useful for a variety of applications, ranging from environmental technologies to heteroge-neous catalysis, and including pharmaceutical and industrial applications. Solid State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (SS-NMR) has been extensively applied in the characterization of these materials, providing useful information on their dynamics and structure that is inaccessible using other characterization methods such as X-ray diffraction. In this review, we present the key contributions of SS-NMR to the understanding of the mechanisms that govern some of the main applications associated to swelling clay minerals. The article is divided in two parts. The first part presents SS-NMR conventional applications to layered clay minerals, while the second part comprises an in-depth review of the information that SS-NMR can provide about the different properties of swelling layered clay minerals.


June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.pnmrs.2021.04.001

Dehydration of glucose to 5-Hydroxymethlyfurfural on bifunctional carbon catalysts


Bounoukta, CE; Megias-Sayago, C; Ammari, F; Ivanova, S; Monzon, A; Centeno, MA; Odriozola, JA
Applied Catalysis B-Environmental, 286 (2021) 119938

ABSTRACT

The proposed study tries to reply on one important question concerning glucose dehydration: What is the role of bare or tandem Lewis/Bronsted acid sites in the reaction and which are better? A series of mono and bifunctional catalyst are designed and screened for the glucose dehydration reaction. The results clearly reveal that catalyst activity is a function of catalyst composition. The presence of Lewis sites the reaction toward first step isomerization, while the Brunsted acid dehydrate directly glucose to HMF via levoglucosane intermediate. This study proposed also a kinetic modelling of the included reactions and their contrast with the empirical observations.


June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apcatb.2021.119938

Highly Versatile Upconverting Oxyfluoride-Based Nanophosphor Films


Ngo, TT; Cabello-Olmo, E; Arroyo, E; Becerro, AI; Ocana, M; Lozano, G; Miguez, H
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 13 (2021) 30051-30060

ABSTRACT

Fluoride-based compounds doped with rare-earth cations are the preferred choice of materials to achieve efficient upconversion, of interest for a plethora of applications ranging from bioimaging to energy harvesting. Herein, we demonstrate a simple route to fabricate bright upconverting films that are transparent, self-standing, flexible, and emit different colors. Starting from the solvothermal synthesis of uniform and colloidally stable yttrium fluoride nanoparticles doped with Yb3+ and Er3+, Ho3+, or Tm3+, we find the experimental conditions to process the nanophosphors as optical quality films of controlled thickness between few hundreds of nanometers and several micrometers. A thorough analysis of both structural and photophysical properties of films annealed at different temperatures reveals a tradeoff between the oxidation of the matrix, which transitions through an oxyfluoride crystal phase, and the efficiency of the upconversion photoluminescence process. It represents a significant step forward in the understanding of the fundamental properties of upconverting materials and can be leveraged for the optimization of upconversion systems in general. We prove bright multicolor upconversion photoluminescence in oxyfluoride-based phosphor transparent films upon excitation with a 980 nm laser for both rigid and flexible versions of the layers, being possible to use the latter to coat surfaces of arbitrary shape. Our results pave the way toward the development of upconverting coatings that can be conveniently integrated in applications that demand a large degree of versatility.


June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1021/acsami.1c07012

In-situ HDO of guaiacol over nitrogen-doped activated carbon supported nickel nanoparticles


Jin, Wei; Pastor-Perez, Laura; Villora-Pico, Juan J.; Mercedes Pastor-Blas, M.; Odriozola, Jose A.; Sepulveda-Escribano, Antonio; Ramirez Reina, Tomas
Applied Catalysis A-General, 620 (2021) 118033

ABSTRACT

In-situ hydrodeoxygenation of guaiacol over Ni-based nitrogen-doped activated carbon supported catalysts is presented in this paper as an economically viable route for bio-resources upgrading. The overriding concept of this paper is to use water as hydrogen donor for the HDO reaction, suppressing the input of external highpressure hydrogen. The effect of nitrogen sources, including polypyrrole (PPy), polyaniline (PANI) and melamine (Mel) on the structural, electronic and ultimately of catalytic features of the designed materials have been addressed. Nitrogen-doped samples are more active than the undoped counterparts in the "H2-free" HDO process. For instance, the conversion of guaiacol increased by 8 % for Ni/PANI-AC compared to that of Ni/AC catalysts. The superior performance of Ni/NC can be attributed to the acid-base properties and modified electronic properties, which favours the C-O cleavage and water activation as well as enhances dispersion of Ni particles on the catalysts' surface.


June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apcata.2021.118033

The Role of the Atmosphere on the Photophysics of Ligand-Free Lead-Halide Perovskite Nanocrystals


Moran-Pedroso, M; Rubino, A; Calvo, ME; Espinos, JP; Galisteo-Lopez, JF; Miguez, H
Advanced Optical Materials, (2021) 2100605

ABSTRACT

Lead halide perovskite (LHP) nanocrystals (NCs) have gained attention over the past decade due to their outstanding optoelectronic properties, making them a suitable material for efficient photovoltaic and light emitting devices. Due to its soft nature, these nanostructures undergo strong structural changes upon irradiation, where these light-induced processes are strongly influenced by the environment. Since most processing routes for LHP NCs are based on colloidal approaches, the role of factors such as stabilizing ligands or solvents is usually hard to disentangle from the interaction of external radiation with the perovskite material. Employing a recently proposed synthetic approach, where ligand-free NCs can be grown within metal-oxide-based insulating nanoporous matrices, it has been feasible to perform a clean study of the effect of the surrounding atmosphere on the photophysical properties of perovskite NCs, avoiding the interference of protective capping layers or solvents. Simultaneous light-induced photo-activation and darkening processes are monitored and disentangled, and their relation with bulk and surface processes, respectively, demonstrated.


June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1002/adom.202100605

Stepping toward Efficient Microreactors for CO2 Methanation: 3D-Printed Gyroid Geometry


Baena-Moreno, FM; Gonzalez-Castano, M; de Miguel, JCN; Miah, KUM; Ossenbrink, R; Odriozola, J.A.
ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 9 (2021) 8198-8206

ABSTRACT

This work presents a comparative study toward the development of efficient microreactors based on three-dimensional (3D)-printed structures. Thus, the study evaluates the influence of the metal substrate geometry on the performance of structured catalysts for the CO2 methanation reaction. For this purpose, the 0.5%Ru-15%Ni/MgAl2O4 catalyst is washcoated over two different micromonolithic metal substrates: a conventional parallel channel honeycomb structure and a novel 3D-printed structure with a complex gyroid geometry. The effect of metal substrate geometry is analyzed for several CO2 sources including ideal flue gas atmospheres and the presence of residual CH4 and CO in the flue gas, as well as simulated biogas sources. The advantages of the gyroid 3D complex geometries over the honeycomb structures are shown for all evaluated conditions, providing in the best-case scenario a 14% improvement in CO2 conversion. Moreover, this contribution shows that systematically tailoring geometrical features of structured catalysts becomes an effective strategy to achieve improved catalyst performances independent of the flue gas composition. By enhancing the transport processes and the gas-catalyst interactions, the employed gyroid 3D metal substrates enable boosted CO2 conversions and greater CH4 selectivity within diffusion-controlled regimes.


June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.1c01980

Pectin-cellulose nanocrystal biocomposites: Tuning of physical properties and biodegradability


Moreno, Ana Gonzalez; Guzman-Puyol, Susana; Dominguez, Eva; Benitez, Jose J.; Segado, Patricia; Lauciello, Simone; Ceseracciu, Luca; Porras-Vazquez, Jose M.; Leon-Reina, Laura; Heredia, Antonio; Heredia-Guerrero, Jose A.
International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 180 (2021) 709-717

ABSTRACT

The fabrication of pectin-cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) biocomposites has been systematically investigated by blend-ing both polysaccharides at different relative concentrations. Circular free-standing films with a diameter of 9 cm were prepared by simple solution of these carbohydrates in water followed by drop-casting and solvent evaporation. The addition of pectin allows to finely tune the properties of the biocomposites. Textural characterization by AFM showed fibrous morphology and an increase in fiber diameter with pectin content. XRD analysis demonstrated that pectin incorporation also reduced the degree of crystallinity though no specific interaction between both poly-saccharides was detected, by ATR-FTIR spectroscopy. The optical properties of these biocomposites were character-ized for the first time and it was found that pectin in the blend reduced the reflectance of visible light and increased UV absorbance. Thermal stability, analyzed by TGA, was improved with the incorporation of pectin. Finally, pectin-cellulose nanocrystal biocomposites showed a good biodegradability in seawater, comparable to other common bioplastics such as cellulose and low-molecular weight polylactide, among others.


June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2021.03.126

Kinetic study of complex processes composed of non-independent stages: pyrolysis of natural rubber


Perejon, A; Sánchez-Jiménez, PE; García-Garrido, C; Pérez-Maqueda, LA
Polymer Degradation and Stability, 188 (2021) 109590

ABSTRACT

In this work, it is proposed a method for studying kinetics of complex processes composed of non-independent stages. In this method, the variable contribution of the different stages as a function of the heating schedule is taken into account. The method involves the simultaneous kinetic analysis of a set of experimental data registered under linear heating rate conditions, without any previous assumptions regarding the kinetic models followed by the stages or their corresponding activation energies.
The method has been tested with the kinetic analysis of the pyrolysis of natural rubber, since the kinetics of this process is complex and depends on temperature and heating schedule. It is demonstrated that the behavior of the experimental curves can be accurately predicted with the kinetic parameters calculated by the proposed methodology.
The kinetic analysis presented here could be applied to other complex processes as those found in pyrolysis, without the need of using oversimplified kinetic models that could yield significant errors when used in real applications.


June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.polymdegradstab.2021.109590

Self-preserving ice layers on CO2 clathrate particles: Implications for Enceladus, Pluto, and similar ocean worlds


Bostrom, M; Esteso, V; Fiedler, J; Brevik, I; Buhmann, SY; Persson, C; Carretero-Palacios, S; Parsons, DF; Corkey, RW
Astronomy & Astrophysics, 650 (2021) A54

ABSTRACT

Context. Gas hydrates can be stabilised outside their window of thermodynamic stability by the formation of an ice layer - a phenomenon termed self-preservation. This can lead to a positive buoyancy for clathrate particles containing CO2 that would otherwise sink in the oceans of Enceladus, Pluto, and similar oceanic worlds.Aims. Here we investigate the implications of Lifshitz forces and low occupancy surface regions on type I clathrate structures for their self-preservation through ice layer formation, presenting a plausible model based on multi-layer interactions through dispersion forces.Methods. We used optical data and theoretical models for the dielectric response for water, ice, and gas hydrates with a different occupancy. Taking this together with the thermodynamic Lifshitz free energy, we modelled the energy minima essential for the formation of ice layers at the interface between gas hydrate and liquid water.Results. We predict the growth of an ice layer between 0.01 and 0.2 mu m thick on CO, CH4, and CO2 hydrate surfaces, depending on the presence of surface regions depleted in gas molecules. Effective hydrate particle density is estimated, delimiting a range of particle size and compositions that would be buoyant in different oceans. Over geological time, the deposition of floating hydrate particles could result in the accumulation of kilometre-thick gas hydrate layers above liquid water reservoirs and below the water ice crusts of their respective ocean worlds. On Enceladus, the destabilisation of near-surface hydrate deposits could lead to increased gas pressures that both drive plumes and entrain stabilised hydrate particles. Furthermore, on ocean worlds, such as Enceladus and particularly Pluto, the accumulation of thick CO2 or mixed gas hydrate deposits could insulate its ocean against freezing. In preventing freezing of liquid water reservoirs in ocean worlds, the presence of CO2-containing hydrate layers could enhance the habitability of ocean worlds in our Solar System and on the exoplanets and exomoons beyond.


June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202040181

Ni/YMnO3 perovskite catalyst for CO2 methanation


Gonzalez-Castano, M; de Miguel, JCN; Penkova, A; Centeno, MA; Odriozola, JA; Arellano-Garcia, H
Applied Materials Today, 23 (2021) 101055

ABSTRACT

This work proposes an innovative Ni catalyst supported over YMnO3 perovskite as a promising catalytic system for CO2 methanation reaction. Under reductive conditions, the attendance of Mn redox couples within the layered perovskite structure promotes the constitution of sub-stoichiometric YMnO3-x units which, by means of the flexible YMnO3-x reorganization capacity, results in boosted anionic mobility's. The competitive turnover frequencies (20.1 and 17.0 s(-1) at 400 degrees C under dry- and steamed- CO2 methanation conditions) displayed by Ni/YMnO3 system were related to the synergism between strongly interacting Ni particles with partially reduced YMnO3-x perovskites. The optimal Ni dispersions, for which no relevant signs of sintering issues were discerned, combined to effective role of oxygen vacancies towards the dissociative activation of CO2 molecules enabled highly active and stable catalytic behaviours with no evidence of cooking phenomena. On evaluating the water presence within CO2 methanation feedstock's, the deprived catalytic behaviour was fundamentally associated to depleted oxygen vacancies concentrations and promoted WGS side reactions.


June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apmt.2021.101055

Toward Commercialization of Stable Devices: An Overview on Encapsulation of Hybrid Organic-Inorganic Perovskite Solar Cells


Aranda, Clara A.; Calio, Laura; Salado, Manuel
Crystals, 11 (2021) 519

ABSTRACT

Perovskite solar cells (PSCs) represent a promising technology for energy harvesting due to high power conversion efficiencies up to 26%, easy manufacturing, and convenient deposition techniques, leading to added advantages over other contemporary competitors. In order to promote this technology toward commercialization though, stability issues need to be addressed. Lately, many researchers have explored several techniques to improve the stability of the environmentally-sensitive perovskite solar devices. Challenges posed by environmental factors like moisture, oxygen, temperature, and UV-light exposure, could be overcome by device encapsulation. This review focuses the attention on the different materials, methods, and requirements for suitable encapsulated perovskite solar cells. A depth analysis on the current stability tests is also included, since accurate and reliable testing conditions are needed in order to reduce mismatching involved in reporting the efficiencies of PSC.


May, 2021 | DOI: 10.3390/cryst11050519

Structural Evolution in Iron-Catalyzed Graphitization of Hard Carbons


Gomez-Martin, A; Schnepp, Z; Ramirez-Rico, J
Chemistry of Materials, 33 (2021) 3087-3097

ABSTRACT

Despite the recent interest in catalytic graphitization to obtain graphite-like materials from hard-carbon sources, many aspects of its mechanism are still poorly unknown. We performed a series of in situ experiments to study phase transformations during graphitization of a hard-carbon precursor using an iron catalyst at temperatures up to 1100 degrees C and ex situ total scattering experiments up to 2000 degrees C to study the structural evolution of the resulting graphitized carbon. Our results show that upon heating and cooling, iron undergoes a series of reductions to form hematite, magnetite, and wustite before forming a carbide that later decomposes into metallic iron and additional graphite and that the graphitization fraction increases with increasing peak temperature. Structural development with temperature results in decreasing sheet curvature and increased stacking, along with a decrease in turbostratic disorder up to 1600 degrees C. Higher graphitization temperatures result in larger graphitic domains without further ordering of the graphene sheets. Our results have implications for the synthesis of novel biomass-derived carbon materials with enhanced crystallinity.


May, 2021 | DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.0c04385

Synthesis of clay geopolymers using olive pomace fly ash as an alternative activator. Influence of the additional commercial alkaline activator used


Gomez-Casero, MA; Moral-Moral, FJ; Perez-Villarejo, L; Sanchez-Soto, PJ; Eliche-Quesada, D
Journal of Materials Research and Technology-JMR&T 12 (2021) 1762-1776

ABSTRACT

In this research, the use of olive pomace fly ash (OPFA) as an alkaline source for the activation of calcined clays (CC) from Bailen (Jaen, Spain) was studied. The optimal composition was obtained for 70 wt % CC and 30 wt % OPFA. The physical, mechanical and thermal properties of control geopolymers that use water as a liquid medium have been studied and compared with geopolymers that use additional activating solutions as sodium or potassium hydroxide solutions (8 M), or a mixture of alkaline hydroxide and alkaline silicate solution (NaOH-Na2SiO3 or KOH-K2SiO3). The results showed that OPFA can be used as an alkaline activator, showing mechanical properties slightly lower than those obtained when additional alkaline hydroxide activating solutions were used. The best compressive strength was obtained for geopolymers that use alkaline silicates as an activating solution. However, the best thermal insulation properties were obtained for control geopolymers. The microstructural characteristics of the geopolymers were evaluated by means of X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM-EDS) that corroborate the formation of geopolymeric gel in all the specimens, being the amount of gel formed greater in samples using commercial potassium activating solutions. These results demonstrate the feasibility of using this type of waste, OPFA, as activating reagents in the manufacture of geopolymers or alkaline activated materials. The manufactured geopolymers can be used as compressed earth blocks for walls and partitions, since the specimens pursue mechanical properties that comply with current regulations, presenting better thermal insulation properties. 


May, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jmrt.2021.03.102

High-temperature solar-selective coatings based on Cr(Al)N. Part 1: Microstructure and optical properties of CrNy and Cr1-xAlxNy films prepared by DC/HiPIMS


Rojas, TC; Caro, A; Lozano, G.; Sanchez-Lopez, JC
Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 223 (2021) 110951

ABSTRACT

In order to explore the potentialities of Cr1-x(Al)xNy materials in multilayer-based solar selective coatings (SSC) for high temperature applications (T > 500 °C), the optical behavior of Cr1-x(Al)xNy films is studied in this work. Two sets of layers (CrNy and Cr1-xAlxNy) were prepared by direct current (DC) and high-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) technology. The deposition parameters: N2 flux, HiPIMS frequency and aluminum sputtering power, were modified to get a wide variety of stoichiometries. The composition, morphology, phases and electronic structure of the films were characterized in depth. The optical behavior was determined by UV–Vis–NIR and FTIR spectroscopies, and the optical constants were obtained from the measured transmittance and reflectance spectra based on appropriate dielectric function models. Our results indicate that small changes in the layer composition influence the optical constants. In particular, a metallic-like behavior was obtained for CrNy layers with N vacancies (CrN0.95 and CrN0.67 films) while a semiconductor-like behavior was observed for CrN1.08. Thus, the CrNy films can be used as effective absorber layer in multilayer-based SSC, and namely, the CrN0.67 film as an IR reflector/absorber layer too. Likewise, the optical properties of Cr1-xAlxNy layers can also be tuned from metallic to semiconductor-like behavior depending on the chemical composition. Indeed, the absorption coefficients of Cr1-xAlxNy films with optimized Al content and N-vacancies are comparable to those reported for state-of-the-art materials such as TiAlN or TiAlCrN. In addition, a Cr0.96Al0.04N0.89 film was found to be a suitable IR reflector/absorber layer.


May, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.solmat.2020.110951

Effect of the sulphonating agent on the catalytic behavior of activated carbons in the dehydration reaction of fructose in DMSO


Bounoukta, CE; Megias-Sayago, C; Ivanova, S; Penkova, A; Ammari, F; Centeno, MA; Odriozola, JA
Applied Catalysis A-General, 617 (2021) 118108

ABSTRACT

A series of -SO3R functionalized activated carbons (R=H, O, aryl) were prepared and applied in fructose dehydration reaction to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural. Different sulphonating methods introduce groups on catalyst surface with distinct donor-acceptor and hydrophilic properties. Their nature influences significantly not only activated carbon?s textural and chemical properties but also the product yields and selectivity in fructose dehydration reaction. The viability of the solvent free reaction was also investigated and compared to the performance of the catalyst series in presence of DMSO, where the best catalytic results were obtained.


May, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apcata.2021.118108

Synthesis and Characterization of a Nearly Single Bulk Ti2AlN MAX Phase Obtained from Ti/AlN Powder Mixture through Spark Plasma Sintering


Salvo, C; Chicardi, E; Poyato, R; Garcia-Garrido, C; Jimenez, JA; Lopez-Pernia, C; Tobosque, P; Mangalaraja, RV
Materials, 14 (2021) 2217

ABSTRACT

MAX phases are an advanced class of ceramics based on ternary carbides or nitrides that combine some of the ceramic and metallic properties, which make them potential candidate materials for many engineering applications under severe conditions. The present work reports the successful synthesis of nearly single bulk Ti2AlN MAX phase (>98% purity) through solid-state reaction and from a Ti and AlN powder mixture in a molar ratio of 2:1 as starting materials. The mixture of Ti and AlN powders was subjected to reactive spark plasma sintering (SPS) under 30 MPa at 1200 degrees C and 1300 degrees C for 10 min in a vacuum atmosphere. It was found that the massive formation of Al2O3 particles at the grain boundaries during sintering inhibits the development of the Ti2AlN MAX phase in the outer zone of the samples. The effect of sintering temperature on the microstructure and mechanical properties of the Ti2AlN MAX phase was investigated and discussed.


May, 2021 | DOI: 10.3390/ma14092217

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