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Author ORCID ID is 0000000173510739
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  1. In this study, we have put forth a facile hydrothermal approach to synthesize an array of one-dimensional (1D) Mn-doped Zn 2SiO 4 nanostructures. Specifically, we have probed and correlated the effects of controllable reaction parameters such as the pH and Mn dopant concentrations with the resulting crystal structures and morphologies of the products obtained. Based upon our results, we find that careful tuning of the pH versus the Mn dopant level gives rise to opposite trends with respect to the overall size of the resulting one-dimensional nanostructures. Significantly, we have highlighted the role of the Mn dopant ion concentration asmore » a potentially generalizable reaction parameter in solution-based synthesis for controlling morphology and hence, the observed optical behavior. Indeed, such a strategy can be potentially generalized to systems such as but not limited to Mn-doped ZnS, CdS, and CdSe quantum dots (QD), which, to the best of our knowledge, denote promising candidates for a variety of optoelectronic applications. Specifically, we have carefully optimized the synthesis conditions in order to generate a series of chemically well-defined Mn-doped Zn 2SiO 4 not only possessing Mn concentrations ranging from 3% to 8% but also characterized by highly crystalline, monodisperse wire-like motifs measuring ~30 nm in diameter and ~700 nm in length. Optically, the photoluminescence signals associated with the 1D series yielded a volcano-shaped relationship between PL intensities and the Mn dopant level. In additional experiments, we have immobilized CdSe quantum dots (QDs) onto the external surfaces of our as-synthesized Mn-doped Zn 2SiO 4 nanowires, in order to form novel composite heterostructures. The optical properties of the CdSe QD–Mn:Zn 2SiO 4 heterostructures have been subsequently examined. Our results have demonstrated the likely co-existence of both energy transfer and charge transfer phenomena between the two constituent components of our as-prepared composites. Specifically, when both components are photoexcited, both energy transfer and charge transfer were found to plausibly occur, albeit in opposite directions. When the CdSe QDs are excited alone for example, charge transfer probably takes place from the CdSe QDs to the dopant Mn 2+ ions. We believe that our as-processed heterostructures are therefore promising as a tunable light-harvesting motif. Essentially, these materials have broadened the effective light absorption range for optical ‘accessibility’, not only through their incorporation of dopant-tunable Zn 2SiO 4 possessing complementary absorption properties to those of the QDs but also through their integration of CdSe QDs with size-tailorable optical behavior.« less
  2. Fuel cells (FCs) convert chemical energy into electricity through electrochemical reactions. They maintain desirable functional advantages that render them as attractive candidates for renewable energy alternatives. However, the high cost and general scarcity of conventional FC catalysts largely limit the ubiquitous application of this device configuration. For example, under current consumption requirements, there is an insufficient global reserve of Pt to provide for the needs of an effective FC for every car produced. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary in the future to replace Pt either completely or in part with far more plentiful, abundant, cheaper, and potentially less toxic firstmore » row transition metals, because the high cost-to-benefit ratio of conventional catalysts is and will continue to be a major limiting factor preventing mass commercialization. We and other groups have explored a number of nanowire-based catalytic architectures, which are either Pt-free or with reduced Pt content, as an energy efficient solution with improved performance metrics versus conventional, currently commercially available Pt nanoparticles that are already well established in the community. Specifically, in this Perspective, we highlight strategies aimed at the rational modification of not only the physical structure but also the chemical composition as a means of developing superior electrocatalysts for a number of small-molecule-based anodic oxidation and cathodic reduction reactions, which underlie the overall FC behavior. In particular, we focus on efforts to precisely, synergistically, and simultaneously tune not only the size, morphology, architectural motif, surface chemistry, and chemical composition of the as-generated catalysts but also the nature of the underlying support so as to controllably improve performance metrics of the hydrogen oxidation reaction, the methanol oxidation reaction, the ethanol oxidation reaction, and the formic acid oxidation reaction, in addition to the oxygen reduction reaction.« less
  3. Here, we report on the synthesis of submicron Li 1+xV 3O 8 fibers through a facile mixed ethanol/water solution-mediated solvothermal route in the absence of surfactants. All the raw materials used are commercially available, relatively inexpensive, and low-toxic, and these can be handled in an ambient atmosphere, rendering this synthetic route as reasonably facile and efficient. To ensure a desirable and acceptable sample crystallinity and purity, we introduced a postannealing treatment at 500°C. The monoclinic phase formation of the fiber sample was probed in detail using a series of X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, infrared spectroscopy, X-raymore » photoelectron spectroscopy, high resolution transmission electron microscopy, and selected area electron diffraction measurements. Both morphology and chemical composition could be carefully and systematically tuned in terms of generating a class of novel, pure, and well-defined motifs of Li 1+xV 3O 8. A plausible mechanism for the formation of submicron-diameter fibers has been discussed in addition to the expected phase transformation within our Li-V-O materials. Our comprehensive study should provide for needed fundamental insights into putting forth a viable synthesis strategy for the generation of well-defined morphological variants of layered oxide materials for battery applications.« less
  4. Pt-based alloys denote promising catalysts for the methanol oxidation reaction (MOR) and the ethanol oxidation reaction (EOR), due to their enhanced activity toward alcohol-oxidation reactions and reduced cost as compared with Pt alone. Among all of these binary systems, PtSn has been reported to exhibit superior methanol/ethanol oxidation activity. In this paper, we deliberatively tailor chemical composition, reduce size, and optimize morphology of the catalyst in an effort to understand structure–property correlations that can be used to improve upon the electrocatalytic activity of these systems. Previous work performed by our group suggested that Pt-based catalysts, possessing an ultrathin one-dimensional (1D)more » structure, dramatically promote both cathodic and anodic reactions with respect to their zero-dimensional (0D) counterparts. Herein, a novel set of ultrathin binary Pt–Sn 1D nanowire (NW) catalysts with rationally controlled chemical compositions, i.e., Pt 9Sn 1, Pt 8Sn 2, and Pt 7Sn 3, has been synthesized using a facile, room-temperature, wet-solution-based method. The crystallinity and chemical composition of these as-prepared samples were initially characterized using XRD, XPS, and EDX. Results revealed that this synthetic protocol could successfully generate PtSn alloys with purposely tunable chemical compositions. TEM and HRTEM verified the structural integrity of our ultrathin 1D NW morphology for our Pt 9Sn 1, Pt 8Sn 2, and Pt 7Sn 3 samples. The effects of varying Sn content within these alloy samples toward the electro-oxidation reaction of methanol and ethanol were probed using cyclic voltammetry (CV) in acidic media. Finally, within this series, we find that the optimized chemical composition for both the MOR and the EOR is Pt 7Sn 3.« less
  5. Doped motifs offer an intriguing structural pathway toward improving conductivity for battery applications. Specifically, Ca-doped, three-dimensional “flower-like” Li 4–xCa xTi 5O 12 (“x” = 0, 0.1, 0.15, and 0.2) micrometer-scale spheres have been successfully prepared for the first time using a simple and reproducible hydrothermal reaction followed by a short calcination process. The products were experimentally characterized by means of X-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) mapping, inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), cyclic voltammetry (CV), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), and galvanostatic charge–discharge testing. Calcium dopantmore » ions were shown to be uniformly distributed within the LTO structure without altering the underlying “flower-like” morphology. The largest lattice expansion and the highest Ti 3+ ratios were noted with XRD and XPS, respectively, whereas increased charge transfer conductivity and decreased Li +-ion diffusion coefficients were displayed in EIS for the Li 4–xCa xTi 5O 12 (“x” = 0.2) sample. The “x” = 0.2 sample yielded a higher rate capability, an excellent reversibility, and a superior cycling stability, delivering 151 and 143 mAh/g under discharge rates of 20C and 40C at cycles 60 and 70, respectively. In addition, a high cycling stability was demonstrated with a capacity retention of 92% after 300 cycles at a very high discharge rate of 20C. In addition, first-principles calculations based on density functional theory (DFT) were conducted with the goal of further elucidating and understanding the nature of the doping mechanism in this study. The DFT calculations not only determined the structure of the Ca-doped Li 4Ti 5O 12, which was found to be in accordance with the experimentally measured XPD pattern, but also yielded valuable insights into the doping-induced effect on both the atomic and electronic structures of Li 4Ti 5O 12.« less
  6. In this report, we have synthesized and structurally characterized nanowire bundles of cobalt-substituted pyroxenes, similar to the crystal structure of aegirine (i.e. Co-substituted XYSi 2O 6 with X and Y referring to metallic elements such as but not limited to Co, Na, and Fe), using a readily scalable hydrothermal technique. We then propose a growth mechanism for these bundles, based on detailed time and temperature dependent studies as well as complementary control experiments, particularly reactions in the absence of either 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane (APTES) or sodium hydroxide (NaOH), via a transmission electron microscopy visualization study. Moreover, these nanowire bundles were probed formore » their magnetic properties and chemical composition using superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) measurements, X-ray diffraction, and pair distribution function analysis, respectively. Specifically, SQUID measurement observations highlighted that these bundles evince (i) unique and interesting super-paramagnetic properties at 5 K that are consistent with that of our previously published ~2 nm ultra-small nanoparticles as well as (ii) paramagnetic behavior at 300 K.« less
  7. We present that the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) is a key reaction for water electrolysis cells and air-powered battery applications. However, conventional metal oxide catalysts, used for high-performing OER, tend to incorporate comparatively expensive and less abundant precious metals such as Ru and Ir, and, moreover, suffer from poor stability. To attempt to mitigate for all of these issues, we have prepared one-dimensional (1D) OER-active perovskite nanorods using a unique, simple, generalizable, and robust method. Significantly, our work demonstrates the feasibility of a novel electroless, seedless, surfactant-free, wet solution-based protocol for fabricating “high aspect ratio” LaNiO 3 and LaMnO 3more » nanostructures. As the main focus of our demonstration of principle, we prepared as-synthesized LaNiO 3 rods and correlated the various temperatures at which these materials were annealed with their resulting OER performance. In addition, we observed generally better OER performance for samples prepared with lower annealing temperatures. Specifically, when annealed at 600 °C, in the absence of a conventional conductive carbon support, our as-synthesized LaNiO 3 rods not only evinced (i) a reasonable level of activity toward OER but also displayed (ii) an improved stability, as demonstrated by chronoamperometric measurements, especially when compared with a control sample of commercially available (and more expensive) RuO 2.« less
  8. We present that metal oxides represent a set of promising materials for use as electrodes within lithium ion batteries, but unfortunately, these tend to suffer from limitations associated with poor ionic and electron conductivity as well as low cycling performance. Hence, to achieve the goal of creating economical, relatively less toxic, thermally stable, and simultaneously high-energy-density electrode materials, we have put forth a number of targeted strategies, aimed at rationally improving upon electrochemical performance. Specifically, in this Perspective, we discuss the precise roles and effects of controllably varying not only (i) morphology but also (ii) chemistry as a means ofmore » advancing, ameliorating, and fundamentally tuning the development and evolution of Fe 3O 4, Li 4Ti 5O 12, TiO 2, and LiV 3O 8 as viable and ubiquitous energy storage materials.« less
  9. We present that the reproducible gram-scale synthesis of crystalline nanoscale multiferroics is critical for the development of the next generation of commercially relevant electronic devices. Of the subset of multiferroic materials, yttrium manganese oxide (YMnO 3) is highly attractive, because of its large magneto-electric coupling constants and the recent observation of giant polarization under pressure in these types of rare earth manganites. Utilizing a unique synthetic methodology that combines metal–oleate thermal degradation with the use of a molten salt protocol, we were able to reproducibly generate monodisperse distributions of morphologically distinctive yttrium manganese oxides. Specifically, using a molten NaCl flux,more » we were able to synthesize phase-pure, single-crystalline hexagonal YMnO 3 nanoplates, measuring 441 ± 241 nm in diameter and 46 ± 6 nm in height. Moreover, these nanoplates gave rise to multiferroic behavior, which was confirmed by the observation of a ferroelectric phase from a combination of high-resolution TEM (HRTEM) and selected-area electron diffraction (SAED) analysis. Magnetic measurements are consistent with the onset of a spin glass state below 5 K. To highlight the generalizability of the synthetic method we have developed herein, as a demonstration of principle, we have also successfully used the same protocol to produce nanocubes of lanthanum aluminum oxide (LaAlO 3).« less
  10. To study the charge transfer between cadmium selenide (CdSe) quantum dots (QDs) and double-walled nanotubes (DWNTs), various sizes of CdSe-ligand-DWNT structures are synthesized, and field-effect transistors (FETs) from individual functionalized DWNTs rather than networks of the same are fabricated. From the electrical measurements, two distinct electron transfer mechanisms from the QD system to the nanotube are identified. By the formation of the CdSe-ligand-DWNT heterostructure, an effectively n-doped nanotube is created due to the smaller work function of CdSe as compared with the nanotube. In addition, once the QD-DWNT system is exposed to laser light, further electron transfer from the QDmore » through the ligand, i.e. 4-mercaptophenol (MTH), to the nanotube occurs and a clear QD-size dependent tunneling process is observed. Furthermore, the detailed analysis of a large set of devices and the particular methodology employed here for the first time allowed for extracting a wavelength and quantum dot size dependent charge transfer efficiency – a quantity that is evaluated for the first time through electrical measurement.« less

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