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See detailYBa2Cu3O7-δ thick films for magnetic shielding: Electrophoretic deposition from butanol-based suspension
Closset, Raphaël ULg; Kumar, Devendra; Wera, Laurent ULg et al

in Materials Letters (2014), 119

Multilayered YBa2Cu3O7-δ (YBCO) thick films were coated on silver substrates by electrophoretic deposition (EPD) followed by heat treatment. A butanol-based YBCO suspension is used instead of the common ... [more ▼]

Multilayered YBa2Cu3O7-δ (YBCO) thick films were coated on silver substrates by electrophoretic deposition (EPD) followed by heat treatment. A butanol-based YBCO suspension is used instead of the common acetone-iodine combination. Tests with several dispersing agents reveal that a branched polyethyleneimine (PEI) dispersant develops large positive surface charge on suspended YBCO particles. As a demonstration of the performance of this new suspension formulation, a 12-layer 100 μm-thick YBCO coating was deposited on an Ag tube. The superconducting transition is sharp with onset critical temperature at 92 K. The sample can shield a magnetic field of ~1.3 mT at 77 K, i.e., the best value so far for an YBCO coating on a metallic substrate. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. [less ▲]

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See detailStability of templated and nanoparticles dye-sensitized solar cells : photovoltaic and electrochemical investigation of degradation mechanisms at the photoelectrode interface
Dewalque, Jennifer ULg; Nguyen, Ngoc Duy ULg; Colson, Pierre ULg et al

in Electrochimica Acta (2014), 115(1), 478-486

A key issue in the commercialization of dye-sensitized solar cells is to maintain high efficiency and long lifetime. As reported in the literature, dye-sensitized solar cells are stable under visible ... [more ▼]

A key issue in the commercialization of dye-sensitized solar cells is to maintain high efficiency and long lifetime. As reported in the literature, dye-sensitized solar cells are stable under visible light soaking but thermal stress and UV exposure lead to efficiency degradation. However, all the stability studies published so far have been performed on cells whose TiO2 electrodes were prepared by tape casting or screen printing of nanoparticle pastes/inks. The present study concerns cells based on highly porous templated TiO2 electrodes, whose larger surface area could enhance the negative effects of thermal stress, light soaking and UV exposure. The long-term stability of these cells is compared with a classical nanoparticle-based cell using current-voltage measurements (I-V curves) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. Due to their higher active interface, templated cells are more sensitive than nanoparticle cells to UV illumination, although this can be easily solved in both cases by the use of a UV filter. The templated cells are as stable as the nanoparticle cells under visible light soaking (UV filtered). However, we showed that templated cells are more stable under thermal stress. Moreover, as evidenced by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, templated cells show lower transfer resistance, as well as lower recombination resistance compared to nanoparticle cells. The crystallite connectivity promoted by the templating route seems to favor the electron transfers inside the porous layer. Using templated films in dye-sensitized solar cells is therefore really promising because higher conversion efficiencies are reached without promoting cell degradation. [less ▲]

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See detailPore-filling of Spiro-OMeTAD determined by Rutherford backscattering spectrometry in templated TiO2 photoelectrodes
Dewalque, Jennifer ULg; Colson, Pierre ULg; Thalluri, Venkata Visveswara Gopala Kris ULg et al

in Organic Electronics (2014), 15

Liquid-state dye-sensitized solar cells can suffer from electrolyte evaporation and leakage. Therefore solid-state hole transporting materials are investigated as alternative electrolyte materials ... [more ▼]

Liquid-state dye-sensitized solar cells can suffer from electrolyte evaporation and leakage. Therefore solid-state hole transporting materials are investigated as alternative electrolyte materials. However, in solid-state dye-sensitized solar cells, optimal TiO2 films thickness is limited to a few microns allowing the adsorption of only a low quantity of photoactive dye and thus leading to poor light harvesting and low conversion efficiency. In order to overcome this limitation, high surface area templated films are investigated as alternative to nanocrystalline films prepared by doctor-blade or screen-printing. Moreover, templating is expected to improve the pore accessibility what would promote the solid electrolyte penetration inside the porous network, making possible efficient charge transfers. In this study, films prepared from different structuring agents are discussed in terms of microstructural properties (porosity, crystallinity) as well as impact on the dye loading and Spiro-OMeTAD (2,2',7,7'-tetrakis-(N,N-di-p-methoxyphenylamine)9,9'-spirobifluorene) solid electrolyte filling. We first report Rutherford backscattering spectrometry as an innovative non-destructive tool to characterize the hole transporting materials infiltration. Templated films show dye loading more than two times higher than nanocrystalline films prepared by doctor-blade or screen-printing and solid electrolyte infiltration up to 88%. [less ▲]

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See detailLow temperature crystallization of yttrium orthoferrite by organic acid-assisted sol-gel synthesis
Stevens, Frédéric ULg; Cloots, Rudi ULg; Poelman, D. et al

in Materials Letters (2014), 114

Yttrium orthoferrite (YFeO3) is a promising material for visible light photocatalytic applications due to its band gap of 2.2-2.6 eV. However, during the synthesis of YFeO3, unwanted composition can be ... [more ▼]

Yttrium orthoferrite (YFeO3) is a promising material for visible light photocatalytic applications due to its band gap of 2.2-2.6 eV. However, during the synthesis of YFeO3, unwanted composition can be obtained and the crystallization requires temperatures as high as 850 C. Powders of YFeO3 were prepared using a sol-gel method with and without organic acids (citric acid, tartaric acid, malonic acid and oxalic acid) used as organic modifiers. The band gap of these powders was measured by diffuse reflection spectroscopy, and the crystallinity and crystalline phase content were characterized by X-ray diffraction. Organic acids allow a higher purity and facilitate crystallization. This work aims to produce YFeO3 powders at the lowest possible temperature. Citric acid was found to be the best additive: it reduces the crystallization temperature below 450 C. This opens new perspectives such as the deposition of crystalline YFeO3 thin films onto conductive glass for water-splitting applications. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. [less ▲]

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See detailTiO2 templated films used as photoelectrode for solid-state DSSC applications: study of the pore filling by Rutherford Backscattering Spectroscopy
Dewalque, Jennifer ULg; Colson, Pierre ULg; Thalluri, Venkata Visveswara Gopala Kris ULg et al

Poster (2013, September)

Liquid-state dye-sensitized solar cells can suffer from electrolyte evaporation and leakage. Therefore solid-state hole transporting materials are investigated as alternative electrolyte materials ... [more ▼]

Liquid-state dye-sensitized solar cells can suffer from electrolyte evaporation and leakage. Therefore solid-state hole transporting materials are investigated as alternative electrolyte materials. However, in solid-state dye-sensitized solar cells, optimal TiO2 films thickness is limited to a few microns allowing the adsorption of only a low quantity of photoactive dye and thus leading to poor light harvesting and low conversion efficiency. In order to overcome this limitation, high surface area templated films are investigated as alternative to nanocrystalline films prepared by doctor-blade or screen-printing. Moreover, templating is expected to improve the pore accessibility what would promote the solid electrolyte penetration inside the porous network, making possible efficient charge transfers. In this study, films prepared from different structuring agents are discussed in terms of microstructural properties (porosity, crystallinity) as well as effect on the dye loading and Spiro-OMeTAD (2,2',7,7'-tetrakis-(N,N-di-p-methoxyphenylamine)9,9'-spirobifluorene) solid electrolyte filling. Different techniques such as transmission electron microscopy (TEM), atmospheric poroellipsometry (AEP) and UV-visible absorption spectroscopy (UV-vis.) have been used to describe the microstructural features of the films. Besides, we have implemented Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS) as an innovative non-destructive tool to characterize the hole transporting materials infiltration. Templated films show dye loading more than two times higher than nanocrystalline films prepared by doctor-blade or screen-printing and solid electrolyte infiltration up to 88%. [less ▲]

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See detailNanosphere Lithography: A Powerful Method for the Controlled Manufacturing of Nanomaterials
Colson, Pierre ULg; Henrist, Catherine ULg; Cloots, Rudi ULg

in Journal of Nanomaterials (2013)

The never-ending race towards miniaturization of devices induced an intense research in the manufacturing processes of the components of those devices. However, the complexity of the process combined with ... [more ▼]

The never-ending race towards miniaturization of devices induced an intense research in the manufacturing processes of the components of those devices. However, the complexity of the process combined with high equipment costs makes the conventional lithographic techniques unfavorable for many researchers. Through years, nanosphere lithography (NSL) attracted growing interest due to its compatibility with wafer-scale processes as well as its potential to manufacture a wide variety of homogeneous one-, two-, or three-dimensional nanostructures. This method combines the advantages of both top-down and bottom-up approaches and is based on a two-step process: (1) the preparation of a colloidal crystal mask (CCM) made of nanospheres and (2) the deposition of the desired material through the mask. The mask is then removed and the layer keeps the ordered patterning of the mask interstices. Many groups have been working to improve the quality of the CCMs. Throughout this review, we compare the major deposition techniques to manufacture the CCMs (focusing on 2D polystyrene nanospheres lattices), with respect to their advantages and drawbacks. In traditional NSL, the pattern is usually limited to triangular structures. However, new strategies have been developed to build up more complex architectures and will also be discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailHigh Performance DSSC Based on Semiconducting Oxides Prepared Through Soft Chemistry Processes
Dewalque, Jennifer ULg; Schrijnemakers, Audrey ULg; Thalluri, Venkata Visveswara Gopala Kris ULg et al

Conference (2013, July)

DSSCs have been reported by O’Regan and Grätzel in the early nineties as a very promising alternative to conventional photovoltaic silicon devices. Main benefits of these cells are their low cost as well ... [more ▼]

DSSCs have been reported by O’Regan and Grätzel in the early nineties as a very promising alternative to conventional photovoltaic silicon devices. Main benefits of these cells are their low cost as well as their mild manufacturing process. In most of the specific literature, DSSCs are made of TiO2 films prepared by doctor-blade or screen-printing of anatase nanoparticles paste. However, due to the random organization of the nanoparticles, pore accessibility by the dye and electrolyte could be incomplete. Moreover, some anatase crystallites could suffer from a lack of connectivity, leading to electron transfer issues. The strategy adopted by our group to improve photovoltaic efficiencies involves a templating-assisted process allowing the preparation of highly porous layers with well-ordered and accessible pores as well as improved crystallites connectivity. The main goal is to increase the film surface area and to perfectly control the mesostructure in order to maximize the adsorption of active dye and the electrolyte infiltration inside the porous network. This talk especially focuses on the templating-assisted synthesis of TiO2 and ZnO semiconducting layers used as photoelectrode in DSSCs. Besides, due to the surface area improvement as well as the perfect control of the pore organization and the pore size, the templating strategy can be an effective solution to overcome light harvesting and solid electrolyte filling limitations encountered in solid-state DSSCs. Special effort is paid to the tuning of the TiO2 and ZnO semiconducting layers mesostructure in order to match with solid-state DSSC applications. [less ▲]

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See detailStudies on the Influence of Different Grain-sized Titania Scattering Layers for Dye Sensitized Solar Cells
Thalluri, Venkata Visveswara Gopala Kris ULg; Henrist, Catherine ULg; Vertruyen, Bénédicte ULg et al

Poster (2013, July)

The efficiencies of dye sensitized solar cells (DSCs) are boosted up to 12% by NIR light harvesting dyes and with the usage of scattering layer in the device preparation.The importance of Titania ... [more ▼]

The efficiencies of dye sensitized solar cells (DSCs) are boosted up to 12% by NIR light harvesting dyes and with the usage of scattering layer in the device preparation.The importance of Titania scattering layers was studied as a part of this work. These scattering layers were prepared from two different grain-sizes (100 nm & 500 nm) for SQ2-NIR and N3-UV/Vis DSCs. The 100 nm grain-sized Titania paste was commercially supplied and 500 nm grain-sized Titania paste was prepared according to literature. The morphological and structural properties of these bigger grain-sized Titania layers were deliberated by using and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and X-Ray diffraction (XRD) measurements. The influence of these bigger grain-sized Titania scattering layers in SQ2-NIR and N3-UV/Vis DSCs were expounded by using various electro-optical characterization techniques such as light I-V, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) shown in Figure 1 and external quantum efficiency (EQE) measurements. The importance of understanding the influence of these bigger grain-sized scattering Titania layers could pave a way for future design and optimizing of DSCs for increasing the amount of light harvesting. [less ▲]

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See detailTiO2 templated films used as photoelectrode for solid-state DSSC applications: study of the pore filling by Rutherford Backscattering Spectroscopy
Dewalque, Jennifer ULg; Colson, Pierre ULg; Thalluri, Venkata Visveswara Gopala Kris ULg et al

Poster (2013, July)

Mesoporous anatase thin films are very promising materials to act as electrode in dye-sensitized solar cells. Randomly oriented nanocrystalline TiO2 particles are usually used to prepare photoelectrodes ... [more ▼]

Mesoporous anatase thin films are very promising materials to act as electrode in dye-sensitized solar cells. Randomly oriented nanocrystalline TiO2 particles are usually used to prepare photoelectrodes with a thickness of 10-15 µm. However, in solid-state DSSCs, TiO2 films thickness is limited to few µm allowing the adsorption of only a low quantity of photoactive dye and thus leading to a poor light harvesting and low conversion efficiencies. In order to overcome this limitation, templated-assisted dip-coating techniques are used to obtain thin films with high surface area. Moreover, templating is expected to improve the pore accessibility what would promote the solid electrolyte penetration inside the porous network, making possible efficient charge transfers. In this study, films prepared from different structuring agents are discussed in terms of microstructure properties (porosity, crystallinity) and impact on the dye loading and solid electrolyte filling. As-obtained templated films have been compared to nanocrystalline films prepared by doctor blade or screen printing as reference. Different techniques such as transmission electron microscopy (TEM), atmospheric poroellipsometry (AEP) and UV-visible absorption spectroscopy (UV-vis.) have been used to describe the microstructural features of the films. Solid electrolyte infiltration has been extensively investigated by Rutherford Backscattering Spectroscopy (RBS). Finally, templated films were evaluated as photoelectrode in solid-state DSSCs and compared to nanoparticles layers. [less ▲]

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See detailLong term stability of TiO2 templated multilayer films used as high efficiency photoelectrode in liquid DSSCs
Dewalque, Jennifer ULg; Nguyen, Ngoc Duy ULg; Henrist, Catherine ULg et al

Poster (2013, March)

To our knowledge, the stability results reported in the literature only concern cells made from classical doctor-bladed or screen-printed nanoparticles films. This study focuses on the comparison of the ... [more ▼]

To our knowledge, the stability results reported in the literature only concern cells made from classical doctor-bladed or screen-printed nanoparticles films. This study focuses on the comparison of the long-term stability of these cells with DSSCs working with templated mesoporous films. Indeed, the increased surface area of templated films could lead to a faster degradation of the resulting cells. In accordance with IEC:1646:1996 standard tests, light soaking test at 45°C has been applied to determine the cells stability under prolonged illumination. Moreover, thermal stress in the dark has been applied. Unfortunately, due to the sealing material heat resistance, thermal stress test was only performed at 45°C. [less ▲]

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See detailHierarchical Porous TiO2 thin films by soft and dual templating: A quantitative approach of specific surface and porosity
Henrist, Catherine ULg; Cloots, Rudi ULg; Colson, Pierre ULg et al

Poster (2013, March)

Hierarchical porous structures, with different pore sizes, constitute an important field of research for many applications. However, increasing the pore size results in the decrease of specific surface ... [more ▼]

Hierarchical porous structures, with different pore sizes, constitute an important field of research for many applications. However, increasing the pore size results in the decrease of specific surface. There is a need to quantify and predict the resulting porosity and specific surface. We have prepared hierarchical porous TiO2 thin films either by surfactant templating (soft) or dual surfactant/microspheres templating (soft/hard). They all show narrow, bimodal distribution of pores. Soft templating route leads to very thin films showing high specific surface and bimodal porosity with diameters of 10 nm and 54 nm. Dual templating route combines a Pluronic surfactant-based precursor solution with polystyrene (PS) microspheres (diam. 250 nm) in a one-pot simple process. This gives thicker films with a bimodal distribution of pores (8 nm and 165-200 nm). The dye loading of hierarchical films is compared to pure Pluronic-templated TiO2 films and shows a relative decrease of 29% for Single Templating (ST) and 43% for Dual Templating (DT-250). Finally, a geometrical model is proposed and validated for each system, based on the agreement between calculated specific surfaces and experimental dye loading with N719 dye. [less ▲]

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See detailMorphological and opto-electrical properties of solution deposited Platinum counter electrode for low cost dye sensitized solar cells
Thalluri, Venkata Visveswara Gopala Kris ULg; Décultot, Marc ULg; Henrist, Catherine ULg et al

in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics [=PCCP] (2013), 15

Although Platinum (Pt) is a rare and very expensive material, Pt counter electrodes are still very commonly used for reaching high efficiencies in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). The use of alternative ... [more ▼]

Although Platinum (Pt) is a rare and very expensive material, Pt counter electrodes are still very commonly used for reaching high efficiencies in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). The use of alternative cheaper catalyst materials did not yet yield to equivalent efficiencies. In this work, we tried to understand how to reduce the amount of deposited Pt-material and simultaneously to deliver higher DSC performances. We systematically compared the properties of Pt-counter electrodes prepared by simple solution deposition methods such as spray-coating, dip-coating, brushing with reference to the Pt-electrodes prepared by sputtering onto fluorine doped-tin oxides (FTOs). The morphological and structural characterizations of the deposited Pt-layers were performed by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscope (SEM). The composition of Pt-material was quantified by using SEM electron dispersive x-ray (EDX) mapping measurements are further compared with optical transmission measurements. Also contact angle and sheet resistance measurements were performed. By taking Pt-layers composition, morphology and structural factors into account 9.16% efficient N3 dye based DSCs were assembled. The DSCs were subjected to various opto-electrical characterization techniques like current-voltage (I-V), external quantum efficiency (EQE), cyclic voltammetry (CV), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and transient photo voltage (TPV) measurements. The obtained experimental data suggest that the Pt counter electrodes prepared by solution deposition methods can also reach to high DSC device performances with a consumption of very less amount of Pt material compared with sputtered Pt-layers. This process also proves that higher DSC performances are not limited to the usage of sputtered Pt-layer as counter electrode. [less ▲]

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See detailDifferences in the structural and magnetic properties of nanosized barium hexaferrite powders prepared by single and double microemulsion techniques
Koutzarova, T.; Kolev, S.; Ghelev, Ch et al

in Journal of Alloys & Compounds (2013), 579

Barium hexaferrite powders of nanometer particle size synthesized via two variants of the microemulsion technique, namely, single microemulsion and double microemulsion, were studied. The influence was ... [more ▼]

Barium hexaferrite powders of nanometer particle size synthesized via two variants of the microemulsion technique, namely, single microemulsion and double microemulsion, were studied. The influence was explored of the type of microemulsion technique on the microstructure and on the magnetic properties of the barium hexaferrite powders. The average particle size of the barium hexaferrite powders was in the range from 110 nm to 442 nm depending on the method and conditions of synthesis. The particles with size below 150 nm had irregular shapes between spherical and platehexagonal; the bigger ones had an almost perfect hexagonal shape. The powders obtained by single microemulsion had better magnetic characteristics (saturation magnetization of 65.12 emu/g and coercivity field of 3.6 × 105 A/m) than those obtained by double microemulsion. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailLithium transition metal (Ti, Nb, V) oxide mesoporous thin films: contrasting results when attempting direct synthesis by evaporation-induced self assembly
Caes, Sébastien ULg; Malherbe, Cédric ULg; Krins, Natacha ULg et al

in Microporous & Mesoporous Materials (2013), 172

This work investigates the possibility to prepare mesoporous thin films of Li-Ti, Li-Nb, Li-Nb-V and Li-V oxides through a direct sol-gel EISA route by dissolving a lithium salt in the precursor solution ... [more ▼]

This work investigates the possibility to prepare mesoporous thin films of Li-Ti, Li-Nb, Li-Nb-V and Li-V oxides through a direct sol-gel EISA route by dissolving a lithium salt in the precursor solution. Experimental conditions involve a hydrolysis molar ratio H2O/TM ~10 (TM = Ti,Nb,V) and the common Pluronic structuring agent P123 (EO20-PO70-EO20). Systematic formation of lithium-containing oxides as first-crystallizing phases points to a significant intermixture of lithium and transition metal ions in the inorganic network. In the case of Ti-based and Nb-based oxide films, addition of lithium to the precursor solution is compatible with the formation of amorphous mesoporous films at 350°C. On the contrary, addition of lithium has a detrimental effect on the notoriously difficult formation of vanadium-based mesostructured films: even when replacing half of the vanadium by niobium as a stabilizer, formation of mesostructured films has not been possible in the investigated range of experimental conditions. [less ▲]

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See detailTiO2 templated multilayer films used as high efficiency photoelectrode in liquid or solid DSSCs
Dewalque, Jennifer ULg; Cloots, Rudi ULg; Mathis, François ULg et al

Conference (2012, April 10)

Mesoporous anatase thin films are very promising materials to act as electrode in dye-sensitized solar cells. Randomly oriented nanocrystalline TiO2 particles are usually used to prepare photoelectrodes ... [more ▼]

Mesoporous anatase thin films are very promising materials to act as electrode in dye-sensitized solar cells. Randomly oriented nanocrystalline TiO2 particles are usually used to prepare photoelectrodes with a thickness of 10-15 µm. Templated-assisted dip-coating techniques are used to obtain thin films with ordered porosity. However, monolayer films prepared by dip-coating from a solution suffer from a low quantity of active material with a limited surface area, leading to poor photovoltaic performances. Therefore a multilayer deposition process is needed to increase the film thickness along with surface area. Multilayer dip-coating procedures have already been reported but are usually characterized by a lack of linearity in the evolution of parameters (roughness, surface area, PV performances) as the number of layer increases. In this study, we investigate a dip-coating-based multilayer deposition technique delaying these limitations. First, the influence of the template on the film organization and porosity is studied in terms of long-range order, percentage of porosity, pore size, surface area and pores connectivity. Different techniques such as transmission electron microscopy (TEM), atmospheric poroellipsometry (AEP) and UV-visible absorption spectroscopy (UV-vis.) have been used to describe the microstructural features of the films. The film exhibiting the highest dye loading was selected and its thickness gradually increased up to 4 µm. Finally, the photovoltaic performances of the thick films (1 to 4 µm) have been evaluated in combination with the N719 dye and a liquid electrolyte and show excellent efficiency (6.1%) when compared to values reported in the literature. Such mesostructured films were compared in terms of photovoltaic performance with TiO2 nanoparticles films, generally used in DSSC. Films were further evaluated by Rutherford Backscattering Spectrometry (RBS) as high performance photoelectrode in solid-state DSSCs, in combination with Z907 dye and Spiro-OMeTAD as solid electrolyte. [less ▲]

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See detailRutherford backscattering analysis of porous thin TiO2 films
Mayer, Matej; von Toussaint, Udo; Dewalque, Jennifer ULg et al

in Nuclear Instruments & Methods in Physics Research. Section B, Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms (2012), 273

The additional energy spread due to sample porosity was implemented in the SIMNRA simulation code, version 6.60 and higher. Deviations of the path length and energy loss distributions from the ones ... [more ▼]

The additional energy spread due to sample porosity was implemented in the SIMNRA simulation code, version 6.60 and higher. Deviations of the path length and energy loss distributions from the ones expected from a Poisson distribution of the number of traversed pores are taken into account. These deviations are due to the interaction of pores at higher pore concentrations by overlap or blocking. The skewnesses of the energy distributions are approximated by two-piece normal distributions with identical first three moments. Propagation of porosity-induced energy spread in thick layers is taken into account. Calculated results are compared to experimental data obtained with thin TiO2 mesoporous films measured by Rutherford backscattering (RBS),transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and atmospheric poroellipsometry. [less ▲]

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