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1.  Electrochemical and electron microscopic characterization of Super-P based cathodes for Li–O2 batteries 
Aprotic rechargeable Li–O2 batteries are currently receiving considerable interest because they can possibly offer significantly higher energy densities than conventional Li-ion batteries. The electrochemical behavior of Li–O2 batteries containing bis(trifluoromethane)sulfonimide lithium salt (LiTFSI)/tetraglyme electrolyte were investigated by galvanostatic cycling and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy measurements. Ex-situ X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy were used to evaluate the formation/dissolution of Li2O2 particles at the cathode side during the operation of Li–O2 cells.
PMCID: PMC3817647  PMID: 24205461
aprotic electrolyte; impedance spectroscopy; Li–O2 batteries; scanning electron microscopy
2.  Nanostructured, mesoporous Au/TiO2 model catalysts – structure, stability and catalytic properties 
Aiming at model systems with close-to-realistic transport properties, we have prepared and studied planar Au/TiO2 thin-film model catalysts consisting of a thin mesoporous TiO2 film of 200–400 nm thickness with Au nanoparticles, with a mean particle size of ~2 nm diameter, homogeneously distributed therein. The systems were prepared by spin-coating of a mesoporous TiO2 film from solutions of ethanolic titanium tetraisopropoxide and Pluronic P123 on planar Si(100) substrates, calcination at 350 °C and subsequent Au loading by a deposition–precipitation procedure, followed by a final calcination step for catalyst activation. The structural and chemical properties of these model systems were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), N2 adsorption, inductively coupled plasma ionization spectroscopy (ICP–OES) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The catalytic properties were evaluated through the oxidation of CO as a test reaction, and reactivities were measured directly above the film with a scanning mass spectrometer. We can demonstrate that the thin-film model catalysts closely resemble dispersed Au/TiO2 supported catalysts in their characteristic structural and catalytic properties, and hence can be considered as suitable for catalytic model studies. The linear increase of the catalytic activity with film thickness indicates that transport limitations inside the Au/TiO2 film catalyst are negligible, i.e., below the detection limit.
PMCID: PMC3190629  PMID: 22003465
Au catalysis; Au/TiO2; CO oxidation; gold nanoparticles; model catalysts; thin-film catalyst
3.  Nanoscaled alloy formation from self-assembled elemental Co nanoparticles on top of Pt films 
The thermally activated formation of nanoscale CoPt alloys was investigated, after deposition of self-assembled Co nanoparticles on textured Pt(111) and epitaxial Pt(100) films on MgO(100) and SrTiO3(100) substrates, respectively. For this purpose, metallic Co nanoparticles (diameter 7 nm) were prepared with a spacing of 100 nm by deposition of precursor-loaded reverse micelles, subsequent plasma etching and reduction on flat Pt surfaces. The samples were then annealed at successively higher temperatures under a H2 atmosphere, and the resulting variations of their structure, morphology and magnetic properties were characterized. We observed pronounced differences in the diffusion and alloying of Co nanoparticles on Pt films with different orientations and microstructures. On textured Pt(111) films exhibiting grain sizes (20–30 nm) smaller than the particle spacing (100 nm), the formation of local nanoalloys at the surface is strongly suppressed and Co incorporation into the film via grain boundaries is favoured. In contrast, due to the absence of grain boundaries on high quality epitaxial Pt(100) films with micron-sized grains, local alloying at the film surface was established. Signatures of alloy formation were evident from magnetic investigations. Upon annealing to temperatures up to 380 °C, we found an increase both of the coercive field and of the Co orbital magnetic moment, indicating the formation of a CoPt phase with strongly increased magnetic anisotropy compared to pure Co. At higher temperatures, however, the Co atoms diffuse into a nearby surface region where Pt-rich compounds are formed, as shown by element-specific microscopy.
PMCID: PMC3190617  PMID: 22003453
alloy; Co; CoPt; epitaxy; HRTEM; magnetometry; nanoparticles; Pt; XMCD
4.  Simulation of bonding effects in HRTEM images of light element materials 
The accuracy of multislice high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) simulation can be improved by calculating the scattering potential using density functional theory (DFT) [1–2]. This approach accounts for the fact that electrons in the specimen are redistributed according to their local chemical environment. This influences the scattering process and alters the absolute and relative contrast in the final image. For light element materials with well defined geometry, such as graphene and hexagonal boron nitride monolayers, the DFT based simulation scheme turned out to be necessary to prevent misinterpretation of weak signals, such as the identification of nitrogen substitutions in a graphene network. Furthermore, this implies that the HRTEM image does not only contain structural information (atom positions and atomic numbers). Instead, information on the electron charge distribution can be gained in addition.
In order to produce meaningful results, the new input parameters need to be chosen carefully. Here we present details of the simulation process and discuss the influence of the main parameters on the final result. Furthermore we apply the simulation scheme to three model systems: A single atom boron and a single atom oxygen substitution in graphene and an oxygen adatom on graphene.
PMCID: PMC3190611  PMID: 22003447
chemical bonding; DFT; graphene; HRTEM
5.  Effect of large mechanical stress on the magnetic properties of embedded Fe nanoparticles 
Magnetic nanoparticles are promising candidates for next generation high density magnetic data storage devices. Data storage requires precise control of the magnetic properties of materials, in which the magnetic anisotropy plays a dominant role. Since the total magneto-crystalline anisotropy energy scales with the particle volume, the storage density in media composed of individual nanoparticles is limited by the onset of superparamagnetism. One solution to overcome this limitation is the use of materials with extremely large magneto-crystalline anisotropy. In this article, we follow an alternative approach by using magneto-elastic interactions to tailor the total effective magnetic anisotropy of the nanoparticles. By applying large biaxial stress to nanoparticles embedded in a non-magnetic film, it is demonstrated that a significant modification of the magnetic properties can be achieved. The stress is applied to the nanoparticles through expansion of the substrate during hydrogen loading. Experimental evidence for stress induced magnetic effects is presented based on temperature-dependent magnetization curves of superparamagnetic Fe particles. The results show the potential of the approach for adjusting the magnetic properties of nanoparticles, which is essential for application in future data storage media.
PMCID: PMC3148048  PMID: 21977439
hydrogen in metals; magnetic anisotropy; magnetic data storage; magneto-elastic interactions; nanoparticles; superparamagnetism; thin films
6.  Preparation and characterization of supported magnetic nanoparticles prepared by reverse micelles 
Monatomic (Fe, Co) and bimetallic (FePt and CoPt) nanoparticles were prepared by exploiting the self-organization of precursor loaded reverse micelles. Achievements and limitations of the preparation approach are critically discussed. We show that self-assembled metallic nanoparticles can be prepared with diameters d = 2–12 nm and interparticle distances D = 20–140 nm on various substrates. Structural, electronic and magnetic properties of the particle arrays were characterized by several techniques to give a comprehensive view of the high quality of the method. For Co nanoparticles, it is demonstrated that magnetostatic interactions can be neglected for distances which are at least 6 times larger than the particle diameter. Focus is placed on FePt alloy nanoparticles which show a huge magnetic anisotropy in the L10 phase, however, this is still less by a factor of 3–4 when compared to the anisotropy of the bulk counterpart. A similar observation was also found for CoPt nanoparticles (NPs). These results are related to imperfect crystal structures as revealed by HRTEM as well as to compositional distributions of the prepared particles. Interestingly, the results demonstrate that the averaged effective magnetic anisotropy of FePt nanoparticles does not strongly depend on size. Consequently, magnetization stability should scale linearly with the volume of the NPs and give rise to a critical value for stability at ambient temperature. Indeed, for diameters above 6 nm such stability is observed for the current FePt and CoPt NPs. Finally, the long-term conservation of nanoparticles by Au photoseeding is presented.
PMCID: PMC3045932  PMID: 21977392
Co; CoPt; core–shell particles; FePt; magnetic anisotropy; magnetic particles; plasma etching; reverse micelles; self-assembly

Results 1-6 (6)