Research Papers/Topics in Material Science

A novel synthesis of tin oxide thin films by the sol-gel process for optoelectronic applications

A novel and simple chemical method based on sol-gel processing was proposed to deposit metastable orthorhombic tin oxide (SnOx) thin films on glass substrates at room temperature. The resultant samples are labeled according to the solvents used: ethanol (SnO-EtOH), isopropanol (SnO-IPA) and methanol (SnO-MeOH). The variations in the structural, morphological and optical properties of the thin films deposited using different solvents were characterized by X-ray diffraction, atomic force micros...

Peanut shaped ZnO microstructures: controlled synthesis and nucleation growth toward low-cost dye sensitized solar cells.

This paper describes a simple, low-temperature and cost effective chemical precipitation method in aqueous media to synthesis uniformly distributed zinc oxide (ZnO) microstructures for the fabrication of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). The size and morphology of the ZnO microstructures are systematically controlled by adjusting the concentration of the precursors, zinc acetate dihydrate and ammonium hydroxide. X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) are used for the...

Limitations of ultra-thin transparent conducting oxides for integration into plasmonic-enhanced thin-film solar photovoltaic devices

This study investigates ultra-thin transparent conducting oxides (TCO) of indium tin oxide (ITO), aluminum-doped zinc oxide (AZO) and zinc oxide (ZnO) to determine their viability as candidate materials for use in plasmonic-enhanced thin-film amorphous silicon solar photovoltaic (PV) devices. First a sensitivity analysis of the optical absorption for the intrinsic layer of a nano-disk patterned thin-film amorphous silicon-based solar cell as a function of TCO thickness (10–50 nm) was perfor...

In Situ Formation of Substrate Release Mechanisms for Gas Metal Arc Weld Metal 3-D Printing

This study provides an in-depth investigation into low-cost and no-cost substrate release mechanisms that allow gas metal arc weld 3-D printed ER4043 aluminum and ER70S-6 steel parts to be removed from a reusable print substrate with minimal energy. Aluminum oxide, boron nitride, and titanium nitride coatings were evaluated as possible substrate release agents for aluminum printing. Additionally, the in situ formation of substrate release agents such as intermetallics and oxides were tested f...

Controlling optical absorption in metamaterial absorbers for plasmonic solar cells

Metals in the plasmonic metamaterial absorbers for photovoltaics constitute undesired resistive heating. However, tailoring the geometric skin depth of metals can minimize resistive losses while maximizing the optical absorbance in the active semiconductors of the photovoltaic device. Considering experimental permittivity data for InxGa1-xN, absorbance in the semiconductor layers of the photovoltaic device can reach above 90%. The results here also provides guidance to compare the performance...

Substrate Release Mechanisms for Gas Metal Arc 3-D Aluminum Metal Printing

Limited material options, prohibitively expensive equipment, and high production costs currently limit the ability of small and medium enterprises to use 3D printing to prototype and manufacture metallic goods. A low-cost open-source 3D metal printer that utilizes gas metal arc welding technology has been developed that could make metal printing accessible to the average consumer. Unfortunately, this technology would demand access to expensive cutting tools for part removal from the substrate...

Preparation of meta-stable phases of barium titanate by sol-hydrothermal method

Two low-cost chemical methods of sol–gel and the hydrothermal process have been strategically combined to fabricate barium titanate (BaTiO3) nanopowders. This method was tested for various synthesis temperatures (100 °C to 250 °C) employing barium dichloride (BaCl2) and titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4) as precursors and sodium hydroxide (NaOH) as mineralizer for synthesis of BaTiO3 nanopowders. The as-prepared BaTiO3 powders were investigated for structural characteristics using x-ray diffr...

The Effects of PLA Color on Material Properties of 3-D Printed Components

As the number of prosumer printers has expanded rapidly, they now make up the majority of the 3-D printer market and of these printers those in the open-source lineage of the RepRap also have expanded to dominate. Although still primarily used for prototyping or hobbyist production of low-value products, the RepRap has the capacity to be used for high-value distributed manufacturing. A recent study found that RepRap printed parts printed in realistic environmental conditions can match and eve...

Influence of Oxygen Concentration on the Performance of Ultra-Thin RF Magnetron Sputter Deposited Indium Tin Oxide Films as a Top Electrode for Photovoltaic Devices

The opportunity for substantial efficiency enhancements of thin film hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) solar photovoltaic (PV) cells using plasmonic absorbers requires ultra-thin transparent conducting oxide top electrodes with low resistivity and high transmittances in the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Fabricating ultra-thin indium tin oxide (ITO) films (sub-50 nm) using conventional methods has presented a number of challenges; however, a novel method involving chemic...

A New Method of Preparing Highly Conductive Ultra-Thin Indium Tin Oxide for Plasmonic-Enhanced Thin Film Solar Photovoltaic Devices

A new method of preparing highly conductive ultra-thin indium tin oxide for plasmonic-enhanced thin film solar photovoltaic devices. Abstract Recent numerical modeling of plasmonic metallic nanostructures have shown great potential as a method of light management in thin-film nanodisc-patterned hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) solar photovoltaic (PV) cells. A significant design challenge for such plasmonic-enhanced PV devices is the requirement for ultra-thin transparent conducting oxi...

The 'Fast' and 'Slow' Light Induced Defects in Diluted and Undiluted Hydrogenated Amorphous Silicon Solar Cells and Materials

Studies have been carried out on a-Si:H p-in solar cells and corresponding i-layer films fabricated with and without hydrogen dilution for kinetics with high intensity and 1 sun illuminations. The results show a striking similarity between the kinetics in the fill factors (FF) of the p-in solar cells and the mobility lifetime (µτ) products of the corresponding i layer films. New results are presented on thermal annealing after 10 sun degradation which further substantiate the presence of fa...

Light Induced Changes in Two Distinct Defect States At and Below Midgap in a-Si:H

The inconsistencies associated with the common simple method of evaluating the quality and stability of hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) materials for solar cell applications from just the magnitude of subgap absorption (a(E)) are addressed in this study. The approach taken in this study is to characterize the entire a(E) spectrum by its derivatives, d[a(E)]/dE. Results are presented and discussed for two a-Si:H thin film materials differing in deposition rate by an order of magnitude,...

Global Value Chains from a 3D Printing Perspective

This paper outlines the evolution of additive manufacturing technology, culminating in 3D printing, and presents a vision of how this evolution is affecting existing global value chains in production. In particular, we bring up questions about how this new technology can affect the geographic span and density of global value chains. Potentially, wider adoption of this technology has the potential to partially reverse the trend towards global specialization of production systems into elements ...

Structure-Property Relationships of Common Aluminum Weld Alloys Utilized as Feedstock for GMAW-based 3-D Metal Printing

The relationship between microstructure and properties is not widely assessed in parts produced by additive manufacturing, particularly for aluminum. These relationships can be used by engineers to develop new materials, additive processes, and additively manufactured parts for a variety of applications. Thus, the tensile, compressive, and microstructural properties of common aluminum weld filler alloys (ER1100, ER4043, ER4943, ER4047, and ER5356) were evaluated following gas metal arc weld (...

Feeding Everyone if Industry is Disabled

A number of risks could cause widespread electrical failure, including a series of high-altitude electromagnetic pulses (HEMPs) caused by nuclear weapons, an extreme solar storm, and a coordinated cyber attack. Since modern industry depends on electricity, it is likely there would be a collapse of the functioning of industry and machines in these scenarios. As our current high agricultural productivity depends on industry (e.g. for fertilizers) it has been assumed that there would be mass sta...


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