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1.  Probing Nucleation Mechanism of Self-Catalyzed InN Nanostructures 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2009;5(1):7-13.
The nucleation and evolution of InN nanowires in a self-catalyzed growth process have been investigated to probe the microscopic growth mechanism of the self-catalysis and a model is proposed for high pressure growth window at ~760 Torr. In the initial stage of the growth, amorphous InNx microparticles of cone shape in liquid phase form with assistance of an InNx wetting layer on the substrate. InN crystallites form inside the cone and serve as the seeds for one-dimensional growth along the favorable [0001] orientation, resulting in single-crystalline InN nanowire bundles protruding out from the cones. An amorphous InNx sheath around the faucet tip serves as the interface between growing InN nanowires and the incoming vapors of indium and nitrogen and supports continuous growth of InN nanowires in a similar way to the oxide sheath in the oxide-assisted growth of other semiconductor nanowires. Other InN 1D nanostructures, such as belts and tubes, can be obtained by varying the InN crystallites nucleation and initiation process.
doi:10.1007/s11671-009-9434-3
PMCID: PMC2894334  PMID: 20652103
Indium nitride; Self-catalyzed; Nanowires; InNx cones; Sheath
2.  Probing Nucleation Mechanism of Self-Catalyzed InN Nanostructures 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2009;5(1):7-13.
The nucleation and evolution of InN nanowires in a self-catalyzed growth process have been investigated to probe the microscopic growth mechanism of the self-catalysis and a model is proposed for high pressure growth window at ~760 Torr. In the initial stage of the growth, amorphous InNx microparticles of cone shape in liquid phase form with assistance of an InNx wetting layer on the substrate. InN crystallites form inside the cone and serve as the seeds for one-dimensional growth along the favorable [0001] orientation, resulting in single-crystalline InN nanowire bundles protruding out from the cones. An amorphous InNx sheath around the faucet tip serves as the interface between growing InN nanowires and the incoming vapors of indium and nitrogen and supports continuous growth of InN nanowires in a similar way to the oxide sheath in the oxide-assisted growth of other semiconductor nanowires. Other InN 1D nanostructures, such as belts and tubes, can be obtained by varying the InN crystallites nucleation and initiation process.
doi:10.1007/s11671-009-9434-3
PMCID: PMC2894334  PMID: 20652103
Indium nitride; Self-catalyzed; Nanowires; InNx cones; Sheath
3.  Study of InN epitaxial films and nanorods grown on GaN template by RF-MOMBE 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2012;7(1):468.
This paper reports on high-quality InN materials prepared on a GaN template using radio-frequency metalorganic molecular beam epitaxy. We also discuss the structural and electro-optical properties of InN nanorods/films. The X-ray diffraction peaks of InN(0002) and InN(0004) were identified from their spectra, indicating that the (0001)-oriented hexagonal InN was epitaxially grown on the GaN template. Scanning electron microscopic images of the surface morphology revealed a two-dimensional growth at a rate of approximately 0.85 μm/h. Cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy images identified a sharp InN/GaN interface and a clear epitaxial orientation relationship of [0001]InN // [0001]GaN and ( 2¯110)InN // ( 2¯110)GaN. The optical properties of wurtzite InN nanorods were determined according to the photoluminescence, revealing a band gap of 0.77 eV.
doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-468
PMCID: PMC3492109  PMID: 22908859
RF-MOMBE; InN; nanorods
4.  Transport and infrared photoresponse properties of InN nanorods/Si heterojunction 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2011;6(1):609.
The present work explores the electrical transport and infrared (IR) photoresponse properties of InN nanorods (NRs)/n-Si heterojunction grown by plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy. Single-crystalline wurtzite structure of InN NRs is verified by the X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy. Raman measurements show that these wurtzite InN NRs have sharp peaks E2(high) at 490.2 cm-1 and A1(LO) at 591 cm-1. The current transport mechanism of the NRs is limited by three types of mechanisms depending on applied bias voltages. The electrical transport properties of the device were studied in the range of 80 to 450 K. The faster rise and decay time indicate that the InN NRs/n-Si heterojunction is highly sensitive to IR light.
doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-609
PMCID: PMC3256238  PMID: 22122843
5.  Low Temperature Growth of In2O3 and InN Nanocrystals on Si(111) via Chemical Vapour Deposition Based on the Sublimation of NH4Cl in In 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2009;4(6):491-497.
Indium oxide (In2O3) nanocrystals (NCs) have been obtained via atmospheric pressure, chemical vapour deposition (APCVD) on Si(111) via the direct oxidation of In with Ar:10% O2 at 1000 °C but also at temperatures as low as 500 °C by the sublimation of ammonium chloride (NH4Cl) which is incorporated into the In under a gas flow of nitrogen (N2). Similarly InN NCs have also been obtained using sublimation of NH4Cl in a gas flow of NH3. During oxidation of In under a flow of O2 the transfer of In into the gas stream is inhibited by the formation of In2O3 around the In powder which breaks up only at high temperatures, i.e. T > 900 °C, thereby releasing In into the gas stream which can then react with O2 leading to a high yield formation of isolated 500 nm In2O3 octahedrons but also chains of these nanostructures. No such NCs were obtained by direct oxidation for TG < 900 °C. The incorporation of NH4Cl in the In leads to the sublimation of NH4Cl into NH3 and HCl at around 338 °C which in turn produces an efficient dispersion and transfer of the whole In into the gas stream of N2 where it reacts with HCl forming primarily InCl. The latter adsorbs onto the Si(111) where it reacts with H2O and O2 leading to the formation of In2O3 nanopyramids on Si(111). The rest of the InCl is carried downstream, where it solidifies at lower temperatures, and rapidly breaks down into metallic In upon exposure to H2O in the air. Upon carrying out the reaction of In with NH4Cl at 600 °C under NH3 as opposed to N2, we obtain InN nanoparticles on Si(111) with an average diameter of 300 nm.
doi:10.1007/s11671-009-9266-1
PMCID: PMC2894321  PMID: 20596336
Indium oxide; Indium nitride; Nanocrystals; Low temperature; Chemical vapour deposition
6.  Low Temperature Growth of In2O3and InN Nanocrystals on Si(111) via Chemical Vapour Deposition Based on the Sublimation of NH4Cl in In 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2009;4(6):491-497.
Indium oxide (In2O3) nanocrystals (NCs) have been obtained via atmospheric pressure, chemical vapour deposition (APCVD) on Si(111) via the direct oxidation of In with Ar:10% O2at 1000 °C but also at temperatures as low as 500 °C by the sublimation of ammonium chloride (NH4Cl) which is incorporated into the In under a gas flow of nitrogen (N2). Similarly InN NCs have also been obtained using sublimation of NH4Cl in a gas flow of NH3. During oxidation of In under a flow of O2the transfer of In into the gas stream is inhibited by the formation of In2O3around the In powder which breaks up only at high temperatures, i.e.T > 900 °C, thereby releasing In into the gas stream which can then react with O2leading to a high yield formation of isolated 500 nm In2O3octahedrons but also chains of these nanostructures. No such NCs were obtained by direct oxidation forTG < 900 °C. The incorporation of NH4Cl in the In leads to the sublimation of NH4Cl into NH3and HCl at around 338 °C which in turn produces an efficient dispersion and transfer of the whole In into the gas stream of N2where it reacts with HCl forming primarily InCl. The latter adsorbs onto the Si(111) where it reacts with H2O and O2leading to the formation of In2O3nanopyramids on Si(111). The rest of the InCl is carried downstream, where it solidifies at lower temperatures, and rapidly breaks down into metallic In upon exposure to H2O in the air. Upon carrying out the reaction of In with NH4Cl at 600 °C under NH3as opposed to N2, we obtain InN nanoparticles on Si(111) with an average diameter of 300 nm.
doi:10.1007/s11671-009-9266-1
PMCID: PMC2894321  PMID: 20596336
Indium oxide; Indium nitride; Nanocrystals; Low temperature; Chemical vapour deposition
7.  Field-effect transistors based on cubic indium nitride 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:3951.
Although the demand for high-speed telecommunications has increased in recent years, the performance of transistors fabricated with traditional semiconductors such as silicon, gallium arsenide, and gallium nitride have reached their physical performance limits. Therefore, new materials with high carrier velocities should be sought for the fabrication of next-generation, ultra-high-speed transistors. Indium nitride (InN) has attracted much attention for this purpose because of its high electron drift velocity under a high electric field. Thick InN films have been applied to the fabrication of field-effect transistors (FETs), but the performance of the thick InN transistors was discouraging, with no clear linear-saturation output characteristics and poor on/off current ratios. Here, we report the epitaxial deposition of ultrathin cubic InN on insulating oxide yttria-stabilized zirconia substrates and the first demonstration of ultrathin-InN-based FETs. The devices exhibit high on/off ratios and low off-current densities because of the high quality top and bottom interfaces between the ultrathin cubic InN and oxide insulators. This first demonstration of FETs using a ultrathin cubic indium nitride semiconductor will thus pave the way for the development of next-generation high-speed electronics.
doi:10.1038/srep03951
PMCID: PMC3912472  PMID: 24492240
8.  Oxygen Absorption in Free-Standing Porous Silicon: A Structural, Optical and Kinetic Analysis 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2010;5(4):686-691.
Porous silicon (PSi) is a nanostructured material possessing a huge surface area per unit volume. In consequence, the adsorption and diffusion of oxygen in PSi are particularly important phenomena and frequently cause significant changes in its properties. In this paper, we study the thermal oxidation of p+-type free-standing PSi fabricated by anodic electrochemical etching. These free-standing samples were characterized by nitrogen adsorption, thermogravimetry, atomic force microscopy and powder X-ray diffraction. The results show a structural phase transition from crystalline silicon to a combination of cristobalite and quartz, passing through amorphous silicon and amorphous silicon-oxide structures, when the thermal oxidation temperature increases from 400 to 900 °C. Moreover, we observe some evidence of a sinterization at 400 °C and an optimal oxygen-absorption temperature about 700 °C. Finally, the UV/Visible spectrophotometry reveals a red and a blue shift of the optical transmittance spectra for samples with oxidation temperatures lower and higher than 700 °C, respectively.
doi:10.1007/s11671-010-9532-2
PMCID: PMC2893869  PMID: 20672128
Porous silicon; Thermal oxidation; Kinetic analysis; Structural transition; Optical properties
9.  Oxygen Absorption in Free-Standing Porous Silicon: A Structural, Optical and Kinetic Analysis 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2010;5(4):686-691.
Porous silicon (PSi) is a nanostructured material possessing a huge surface area per unit volume. In consequence, the adsorption and diffusion of oxygen in PSi are particularly important phenomena and frequently cause significant changes in its properties. In this paper, we study the thermal oxidation of p+-type free-standing PSi fabricated by anodic electrochemical etching. These free-standing samples were characterized by nitrogen adsorption, thermogravimetry, atomic force microscopy and powder X-ray diffraction. The results show a structural phase transition from crystalline silicon to a combination of cristobalite and quartz, passing through amorphous silicon and amorphous silicon-oxide structures, when the thermal oxidation temperature increases from 400 to 900 °C. Moreover, we observe some evidence of a sinterization at 400 °C and an optimal oxygen-absorption temperature about 700 °C. Finally, the UV/Visible spectrophotometry reveals a red and a blue shift of the optical transmittance spectra for samples with oxidation temperatures lower and higher than 700 °C, respectively.
doi:10.1007/s11671-010-9532-2
PMCID: PMC2893869  PMID: 20672128
Porous silicon; Thermal oxidation; Kinetic analysis; Structural transition; Optical properties
10.  A Sub-ppm Acetone Gas Sensor for Diabetes Detection Using 10 nm Thick Ultrathin InN FETs 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2012;12(6):7157-7168.
An indium nitride (InN) gas sensor of 10 nm in thickness has achieved detection limit of 0.4 ppm acetone. The sensor has a size of 1 mm by 2.5 mm, while its sensing area is 0.25 mm by 2 mm. Detection of such a low acetone concentration in exhaled breath could enable early diagnosis of diabetes for portable physiological applications. The ultrathin InN epilayer extensively enhances sensing sensitivity due to its strong electron accumulation on roughly 5–10 nm deep layers from the surface. Platinum as catalyst can increase output current signals by 2.5-fold (94 vs. 37.5 μA) as well as reduce response time by 8.4-fold (150 vs. 1,260 s) in comparison with bare InN. More, the effect of 3% oxygen consumption due to breath inhalation and exhalation on 2.4 ppm acetone gas detection was investigated, indicating that such an acetone concentration can be analyzed in air.
doi:10.3390/s120607157
PMCID: PMC3435971  PMID: 22969342
indium nitride (InN); acetone; gas sensor; diabetic; platinum (Pt)
11.  Nonstoichiometric Titanium Oxides via Pulsed Laser Ablation in Water 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2010;5(6):972-985.
Titanium oxide compounds TiO, Ti2O3, and TiO2 with a considerable extent of nonstoichiometry were fabricated by pulsed laser ablation in water and characterized by X-ray/electron diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and electron energy loss spectroscopy. The titanium oxides were found to occur as nanoparticle aggregates with a predominant 3+ charge and amorphous microtubes when fabricated under an average power density of ca. 1 × 108 W/cm2 and 1011 W/cm2, respectively followed by dwelling in water. The crystalline colloidal particles have a relatively high content of Ti2+ and hence a lower minimum band gap of 3.4 eV in comparison with 5.2 eV for the amorphous state. The protonation on both crystalline and amorphous phase caused defects, mainly titanium rather than oxygen vacancies and charge and/or volume-compensating defects. The hydrophilic nature and presumably varied extent of undercoordination at the free surface of the amorphous lamellae accounts for their rolling as tubes at water/air and water/glass interfaces. The nonstoichiometric titania thus fabricated have potential optoelectronic and catalytic applications in UV–visible range and shed light on the Ti charge and phase behavior of titania-water binary in natural shock occurrence.
doi:10.1007/s11671-010-9591-4
PMCID: PMC2894151  PMID: 20672115
Titanium oxide; Nonstoichiometry; Structure; Optical property; Pulsed laser ablation in water; TEM
12.  Nonstoichiometric Titanium Oxides via Pulsed Laser Ablation in Water 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2010;5(6):972-985.
Titanium oxide compounds TiO,Ti2O3, and TiO2 with a considerable extent of nonstoichiometry were fabricated by pulsed laser ablation in water and characterized by X-ray/electron diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and electron energy loss spectroscopy. The titanium oxides were found to occur as nanoparticle aggregates with a predominant 3+ charge and amorphous microtubes when fabricated under an average power density of ca. 1 × 108W/cm2 and 1011W/cm2, respectively followed by dwelling in water. The crystalline colloidal particles have a relatively high content of Ti2+ and hence a lower minimum band gap of 3.4 eV in comparison with 5.2 eV for the amorphous state. The protonation on both crystalline and amorphous phase caused defects, mainly titanium rather than oxygen vacancies and charge and/or volume-compensating defects. The hydrophilic nature and presumably varied extent of undercoordination at the free surface of the amorphous lamellae accounts for their rolling as tubes at water/air and water/glass interfaces. The nonstoichiometric titania thus fabricated have potential optoelectronic and catalytic applications in UV–visible range and shed light on the Ti charge and phase behavior of titania-water binary in natural shock occurrence.
doi:10.1007/s11671-010-9591-4
PMCID: PMC2894151  PMID: 20672115
Titanium oxide; Nonstoichiometry; Structure; Optical property; Pulsed laser ablation in water; TEM
13.  The InN epitaxy via controlling In bilayer 
The method of In bilayer pre-deposition and penetrated nitridation had been proposed, which had been proven to have many advantages theoretically. To study the growth behavior of this method experimentally, various pulse times of trimethylindium supply were used to get the optimal indium bilayer controlling by metalorganic vapour phase epitaxy. The results revealed that the InN film quality became better as the thickness of the top indium atomic layers was close to bilayer. A following tuning of nitridation process enhanced the quality of InN film further, which means that a moderate, stable, and slow nitridation process by NH3 flow also plays the key role in growing better-quality InN film. Meanwhile, the biaxial strain of InN film was gradually relaxing when the flatness was increasingly improved.
doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-5
PMCID: PMC3895708  PMID: 24393422
InN epitaxy; MOVPE; Bilayer control; Penetrated nitridation
14.  Valence band offset of wurtzite InN/SrTiO3 heterojunction measured by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2011;6(1):193.
The valence band offset (VBO) of wurtzite indium nitride/strontium titanate (InN/SrTiO3) heterojunction has been directly measured by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The VBO is determined to be 1.26 ± 0.23 eV and the conduction band offset is deduced to be 1.30 ± 0.23 eV, indicating the heterojunction has a type-I band alignment. The accurate determination of the valence and conduction band offsets paves a way to the applications of integrating InN with the functional oxide SrTiO3.
doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-193
PMCID: PMC3211249  PMID: 21711731
15.  Epitaxial Catalyst-Free Growth of InN Nanorods on c-Plane Sapphire 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2009;4(6):532-537.
We report observation of catalyst-free hydride vapor phase epitaxy growth of InN nanorods. Characterization of the nanorods with transmission electron microscopy, and X-ray diffraction show that the nanorods are stoichiometric 2H–InN single crystals growing in the [0001] orientation. The InN rods are uniform, showing very little variation in both diameter and length. Surprisingly, the rods show clear epitaxial relations with the c-plane sapphire substrate, despite about 29% of lattice mismatch. Comparing catalyst-free with Ni-catalyzed growth, the only difference observed is in the density of nucleation sites, suggesting that Ni does not work like the typical vapor–liquid–solid catalyst, but rather functions as a nucleation promoter by catalyzing the decomposition of ammonia. No conclusive photoluminescence was observed from single nanorods, while integrating over a large area showed weak wide emissions centered at 0.78 and at 1.9 eV.
doi:10.1007/s11671-009-9276-z
PMCID: PMC2893868  PMID: 20596436
InN; Nanorods; Nanowires; Epitaxial growth; Sapphire; Catalyst-free; Ni
16.  Epitaxial Catalyst-Free Growth of InN Nanorods onc-Plane Sapphire 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2009;4(6):532-537.
We report observation of catalyst-free hydride vapor phase epitaxy growth of InN nanorods. Characterization of the nanorods with transmission electron microscopy, and X-ray diffraction show that the nanorods are stoichiometric 2H–InN single crystals growing in the [0001] orientation. The InN rods are uniform, showing very little variation in both diameter and length. Surprisingly, the rods show clear epitaxial relations with thec-plane sapphire substrate, despite about 29% of lattice mismatch. Comparing catalyst-free with Ni-catalyzed growth, the only difference observed is in the density of nucleation sites, suggesting that Ni does not work like the typical vapor–liquid–solid catalyst, but rather functions as a nucleation promoter by catalyzing the decomposition of ammonia. No conclusive photoluminescence was observed from single nanorods, while integrating over a large area showed weak wide emissions centered at 0.78 and at 1.9 eV.
doi:10.1007/s11671-009-9276-z
PMCID: PMC2893868  PMID: 20596436
InN; Nanorods; Nanowires; Epitaxial growth; Sapphire; Catalyst-free; Ni
17.  A Conspicuous Clay Ovoid in Nakhla: Evidence for Subsurface Hydrothermal Alteration on Mars with Implications for Astrobiology 
Astrobiology  2014;14(8):651-693.
Abstract
A conspicuous biomorphic ovoid structure has been discovered in the Nakhla martian meteorite, made of nanocrystalline iron-rich saponitic clay and amorphous material. The ovoid is indigenous to Nakhla and occurs within a late-formed amorphous mesostasis region of rhyolitic composition that is interstitial to two clinopyroxene grains with Al-rich rims, and contains acicular apatite crystals, olivine, sulfides, Ti-rich magnetite, and a new mineral of the rhoenite group. To infer the origin of the ovoid, a large set of analytical tools was employed, including scanning electron microscopy and backscattered electron imaging, wavelength-dispersive X-ray analysis, X-ray mapping, Raman spectroscopy, time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry analysis, high-resolution transmission electron microscope imaging, and atomic force microscope topographic mapping. The concentric wall of the ovoid surrounds an originally hollow volume and exhibits internal layering of contrasting nanotextures but uniform chemical composition, and likely inherited its overall shape from a preexisting vesicle in the mesostasis glass. A final fibrous layer of Fe-rich phases blankets the interior surfaces of the ovoid wall structure. There is evidence that the parent rock of Nakhla has undergone a shock event from a nearby bolide impact that melted the rims of pyroxene and the interstitial matter and initiated an igneous hydrothermal system of rapidly cooling fluids, which were progressively mixed with fluids from the melted permafrost. Sharp temperature gradients were responsible for the crystallization of Al-rich clinopyroxene rims, rhoenite, acicular apatites, and the quenching of the mesostasis glass and the vesicle. During the formation of the ovoid structure, episodic fluid infiltration events resulted in the precipitation of saponite rinds around the vesicle walls, altered pyrrhotite to marcasite, and then isolated the ovoid wall structure from the rest of the system by depositing a layer of iron oxides/hydroxides. Carbonates, halite, and sulfates were deposited last within interstitial spaces and along fractures. Among three plausible competing hypotheses here, this particular abiotic scenario is considered to be the most reasonable explanation for the formation of the ovoid structure in Nakhla, and although compelling evidence for a biotic origin is lacking, it is evident that the martian subsurface contains niche environments where life could develop. Key Words: Biomorph—Clays—Search for life (biosignatures)—Martian meteorites—Hydrothermal systems. Astrobiology 14, 651–693.
doi:10.1089/ast.2013.1069
PMCID: PMC4126275  PMID: 25046549
18.  Investigation of phase composition and nanoscale microstructure of high-energy ball-milled MgCu sample 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2012;7(1):390.
The ball milling technique has been successfully applied to the synthesis of various materials such as equilibrium intermetallic phases, amorphous compounds, nanocrystalline materials, or metastable crystalline phases. However, how the phase composition and nanoscale microstructure evolute during ball milling in various materials is still controversial due to the complex mechanism of ball milling, especially in the field of solid-state amorphization caused by ball milling. In the present work, the phase evolution during the high-energy ball milling process of the Mg and Cu (atomic ratio is 1:1) mixed powder was investigated. It was found that Mg firstly reacts with Cu, forming the Mg2Cu alloy in the primary stage of ball milling. As the milling time increases, the diffracted peaks of Mg2Cu and Cu gradually disappear, and only a broad halo peak can be observed in the X-ray diffraction pattern of the final 18-h milled sample. As for this halo peak, lots of previous studies suggested that it originated from the amorphous phase formed during the ball milling. Here, a different opinion that this halo peak results from the very small size of crystals is proposed: As the ball milling time increases, the sizes of Mg2Cu and Cu crystals become smaller and smaller, so the diffracted peaks of Mg2Cu and Cu become broader and broader and result in their overlap between 39° and 45°, at last forming the amorphous-like halo peak. In order to determine the origin of this halo peak, microstructure observation and annealing experiment on the milled sample were carried out. In the transmission electron microscopy dark-field image of the milled sample, lots of very small nanocrystals (below 20 nm) identified as Mg2Cu and Cu were found. Moreover, in the differential scanning calorimetry curve of the milled sample during the annealing process, no obvious exothermic peak corresponding to the crystallization of amorphous phase is observed. All the above results confirm that the broad halo diffracted peak in the milled MgCu sample is attributed to the overlap of the broadened peaks of the very small Mg2Cu and Cu nanocrystalline phase, not the MgCu amorphous phase. The whole milling process of MgCu can be described as follows: Mg+Cu→Mg2Cu+Cu→Mg2Cunanocrystal+Cunanocrystal.
doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-390
PMCID: PMC3462153  PMID: 22793264
19.  Synthesis and structure of undoped and indium-doped thermoelectric lead telluride nanoparticles 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2014;9(1):227.
Undoped and indium (In)-doped lead telluride (PbTe) nanostructures were synthesized via solvothermal/hydrothermal route. The crystalline structure of the as-prepared undoped and In-doped PbTe samples was examined by X-ray diffraction (XRD) which indicated the formation of face-centered single-phase cubic crystal. A first principle calculation on indium doping shows that the indium atoms are more likely to replace lead (Pb) rather than to take the interstitial sites. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) analysis confirms that indium is incorporated into the PbTe matrix of the indium-doped PbTe samples. The effects of surfactant and synthesis temperature on the structure and morphology of the undoped PbTe were also investigated; it was found that PbTe nanostructures synthesized with the addition of surfactants exhibited uniform shapes and their size increased with the synthesis temperature.
doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-227
PMCID: PMC4022418  PMID: 24872808
Lead telluride; Nanostructure; Solvothermal/hydrothermal synthesis; First principle calculation
20.  Amorphous nickel hydroxide nanospheres with ultrahigh capacitance and energy density as electrochemical pseudocapacitor materials 
Nature Communications  2013;4:1894-.
Among numerous active electrode materials, nickel hydroxide is a promising electrode in electrochemical capacitors. Nickel hydroxide research has thus far focused on the crystalline rather than the amorphous phase, despite the impressive electrochemical properties of the latter, which includes an improved electrochemical efficiency due to disorder. Here we demonstrate high-performance electrochemical supercapacitors prepared from amorphous nickel hydroxide nanospheres synthesized via simple, green electrochemistry. The amorphous nickel hydroxide electrode exhibits high capacitance (2,188 F g−1), and the asymmetric pseudocapacitors of the amorphous nickel hydroxide exhibit high capacitance (153 F g−1), high energy density (35.7 W h kg−1 at a power density of 490 W kg−1) and super-long cycle life (97% and 81% charge retentions after 5,000 and 10,000 cycles, respectively). The integrated electrochemical performance of the amorphous nickel hydroxide is commensurate with crystalline materials in supercapacitors. These findings promote the application of amorphous nanostructures as advanced electrochemical pseudocapacitor materials.
Nickel hydroxide is a promising material for capacitor electrodes and most research has focussed on the crystalline form. Here, the authors report that amorphous nickel hydroxide nanospheres, which may be synthesized relatively easily, also exhibit excellent integrated electrochemical performance.
doi:10.1038/ncomms2932
PMCID: PMC3674274  PMID: 23695688
21.  Effects of crystallization and dopant concentration on the emission behavior of TiO2:Eu nanophosphors 
Uniform, spherical-shaped TiO2:Eu nanoparticles with different doping concentrations have been synthesized through controlled hydrolysis of titanium tetrabutoxide under appropriate pH and temperature in the presence of EuCl3·6H2O. Through air annealing at 500°C for 2 h, the amorphous, as-grown nanoparticles could be converted to a pure anatase phase. The morphology, structural, and optical properties of the annealed nanostructures were studied using X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy [EDS], and UV-Visible diffuse reflectance spectroscopy techniques. Optoelectronic behaviors of the nanostructures were studied using micro-Raman and photoluminescence [PL] spectroscopies at room temperature. EDS results confirmed a systematic increase of Eu content in the as-prepared samples with the increase of nominal europium content in the reaction solution. With the increasing dopant concentration, crystallinity and crystallite size of the titania particles decreased gradually. Incorporation of europium in the titania particles induced a structural deformation and a blueshift of their absorption edge. While the room-temperature PL emission of the as-grown samples is dominated by the 5D0 - 7Fj transition of Eu+3 ions, the emission intensity reduced drastically after thermal annealing due to outwards segregation of dopant ions.
doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-1
PMCID: PMC3260088  PMID: 22214494
titania nanoparticles; europium doping; optical properties; photoluminescence
22.  The role of the surfaces in the photon absorption in Ge nanoclusters embedded in silica 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2011;6(1):135.
The usage of semiconductor nanostructures is highly promising for boosting the energy conversion efficiency in photovoltaics technology, but still some of the underlying mechanisms are not well understood at the nanoscale length. Ge quantum dots (QDs) should have a larger absorption and a more efficient quantum confinement effect than Si ones, thus they are good candidate for third-generation solar cells. In this work, Ge QDs embedded in silica matrix have been synthesized through magnetron sputtering deposition and annealing up to 800°C. The thermal evolution of the QD size (2 to 10 nm) has been followed by transmission electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction techniques, evidencing an Ostwald ripening mechanism with a concomitant amorphous-crystalline transition. The optical absorption of Ge nanoclusters has been measured by spectrophotometry analyses, evidencing an optical bandgap of 1.6 eV, unexpectedly independent of the QDs size or of the solid phase (amorphous or crystalline). A simple modeling, based on the Tauc law, shows that the photon absorption has a much larger extent in smaller Ge QDs, being related to the surface extent rather than to the volume. These data are presented and discussed also considering the outcomes for application of Ge nanostructures in photovoltaics.
PACS: 81.07.Ta; 78.67.Hc; 68.65.-k
doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-135
PMCID: PMC3211182  PMID: 21711648
23.  Structural, electronic and vibrational properties of InN under high pressure 
Physica. B, Condensed Matter  2012;407(6):1008-1013.
The structural, electronic and vibrational properties of InN under pressures up to 20 GPa have been investigated using the pseudo-potential plane wave method (PP-PW). The generalized-gradient approximation (GGA) in the frame of density functional theory (DFT) approach has been adopted. It is found that the transition from wurtzite (B4) to rocksalt (B1) phase occurs at a pressure of approximately 12.7 GPa. In addition, a change from a direct to an indirect band gap is observed. The mechanism of these changes is discussed. The phonon frequencies and densities of states (DOS) are derived using the linear response approach and density functional perturbation theory (DFPT). The properties of phonons are described by the harmonic approximation method. Our results show that phonons play an important role in the mechanism of phase transition and in the instability of B4 (wurtzite) just before the pressure of transition. At zero pressure our data agree well with recently reported experimental results.
doi:10.1016/j.physb.2011.12.129
PMCID: PMC3299643  PMID: 22485065
Electronic structure; High pressure; Phase transition
24.  Determination of InN/Diamond Heterojunction Band Offset by X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy 
Shi, K | Li, DB | Song, HP | Guo, Y | Wang, J | Xu, XQ | Liu, JM | Yang, AL | Wei, HY | Zhang, B | Yang, SY | Liu, XL | Zhu, QS | Wang, ZG
Diamond is not only a free standing highly transparent window but also a promising carrier confinement layer for InN based devices, yet little is known of the band offsets in InN/diamond system. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy was used to measure the energy discontinuity in the valence band offset (VBO) of InN/diamond heterostructure. The value of VBO was determined to be 0.39 ± 0.08 eV and a type-I heterojunction with a conduction band offset (CBO) of 4.42 ± 0.08 eV was obtained. The accurate determination of VBO and CBO is important for the application of III-N alloys based electronic devices.
doi:10.1007/s11671-010-9796-6
PMCID: PMC3212014
Valence band offset; InN/diamond heterojunction; X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy; Conduction band offset
25.  Dye–Sensitized Nanostructured Crystalline Mesoporous Tin-doped Indium Oxide Films with Tunable Thickness for Photoelectrochemical Applications 
A simple route towards nanostructured mesoporous Indium–Tin Oxide (templated nano–ITO) electrodes exhibiting both high conductivities and optimized bicontinuous pore–solid network is reported. The ITO films are first produced as an X–ray–amorphous, high surface area material, by adapting recently established template–directed sol–gel methods using Sn(IV) and In(III) salts. Carefully controlled temperature/atmosphere treatments convert the as–synthesized ITO films into nano-crystalline coatings with the cubic bixbyite structure. Specially, a multi-layered synthesis was successfully undertaken for tuning the film thickness. In order to evaluate the performances of templated nano–ITO as an electrode substrate for photoelectrochemical applications, photoelectrodes were prepared by covalent grafting of a redox–active dye, the complex [Ru(bpy)2(4,4′-(CH2PO3H2)2-bpy)]Cl2 1 (bpy=bipyridine). Surface coverage was shown to increase with the film thickness, from 0.7 × 10−9 mol.cm−2 (one layer, 45 nm) to 3.5 × 10−9 mol.cm−2 (ten layers, 470 nm), the latter value being ~ 100 times larger than that for commercially available planar ITO. In the presence of an electron mediator, photocurrents up to 50 μA.cm−2 have been measured under visible light irradiation, demonstrating the potential of this new templated nano-ITO preparation for the construction of efficient photoelectrochemical devices.
doi:10.1039/C3TA10728K
PMCID: PMC3880857  PMID: 24404381
ITO; Mesoporous; Sol-gel Process; Multi-layered; Ruthenium dye; Photocurrents

Results 1-25 (612005)