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See detailFe2O3 nanoparticle-functionalized N-doped carbon with interconnected, hierarchical porous structures as high-performance electrode for lithium ion batteries
Alkarmo, Walid ULg; Ouhib, Farid ULg; Aqil, Abdelhafid ULg et al

Poster (2016, May 23)

Thanks to their fascinating physical properties such as high surface area, multidimensional electron transport pathways and good mechanical strength, three dimensionally (3D) interconnected carbon porous ... [more ▼]

Thanks to their fascinating physical properties such as high surface area, multidimensional electron transport pathways and good mechanical strength, three dimensionally (3D) interconnected carbon porous frameworks have emerged as attractive materials for various electrochemical energy storage/conversion devices, including Li-ion batteries (LIBs), Li−O2 batteries, Li−S batteries, supercapacitors, and fuel cells. A hierarchically structured macro- and mesoporous N-doped carbon with dispersed Fe2O3 nanoparticles (NDC@Fe2O3) is prepared by thermal treatment of a novel composite composed by PMMA particles decorated by graphene oxide (GO), PPy and iron salts. The NDC@Fe2O3 composite exhibited high surface area with a hierarchical pores structure. Integrated as a lithium ion battery anode, NDC@Fe2O3 exhibited high reversible capacity of 930 mA h/g over 200 cycles. The combination of Fe2O3 nanoparticles with porous carbon to form hybrid anode has been an efficient way to maintain the electronic integrity of the whole electrode since the carbon acts as a buffer layer to accommodate the volume variation and to provide multidimensional electron transport pathways during the charge/discharge process. [less ▲]

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See detailSynthesis of CO2-sourced hydrogels by using the non-isocyanate polyurethane (NIPU) chemistry
Gennen, Sandro ULg; Grignard, Bruno ULg; Thomassin, Jean-Michel ULg et al

Poster (2016, May 23)

Polyurethane (PUs) is one of the most important polymers and finds applications as elastomers, coatings, adhesives and sealants for automotive or construction. PU is also a material of choice in the ... [more ▼]

Polyurethane (PUs) is one of the most important polymers and finds applications as elastomers, coatings, adhesives and sealants for automotive or construction. PU is also a material of choice in the biomedical domain due to its good biocompatibility, biodegradation and mechanical properties. Especially, PUs hydrogels have been developed in the last years for biomedical applications such as soft contact lenses, wound dressing, drug delivery systems and scaffolds for tissue engineering. Traditionally, PUs are synthesized by a step-growth polymerization between diols and diisocyanates. Because of toxicity issues and a possible interdiction of isocyanates, we focused on developing new PU hydrogels using a non-isocyanate route (Figure 1). The polyurethanes formed by this route are called NIPU (for Non-Isocyanate PolyUrethane). Firstly, chemically cross-linked NIPU gels were synthesized by solvent-free polycondensation between a hydrophilic CO2-sourced polyethyleneglycol bi-cyclic carbonate and a diamine in the presence of a crosslinker. Then, NIPU gels were swelled in water till water equilibrium before characterization of their mechanical properties by compression tests. The influence of the cross-linking ratios (diamine/crosslinker ratio) and diamine structure on the swelling and the compression properties were studied. To reinforce the compression properties of NIPU hydrogel (increase in stress at break, strain at break and compression modulus), a nanofiller was dispersed in the cyclic carbonate/diamine/crosslinker formulation prior to polymerization. For the first time, nanocomposite NIPU hydrogels with high water contents (up to 80%) and good compression properties have been prepared by using low clay content. [less ▲]

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See detailOn the Habitability of Desert Varnish: a Combined Study by Micro-Raman Spectroscopy, X-Ray Diffraction and Methylated Pyrolysis-Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
Malherbe, Cédric ULg; Hutchinson, Ian; Ingley, Richard et al

in Astrobiology (2016)

In 2020, the ESA ExoMars and NASA Mars 2020 missions will be launched to Mars, searching for evidence of past and present life. In preparation for these missions, terrestrial analogue samples of rock ... [more ▼]

In 2020, the ESA ExoMars and NASA Mars 2020 missions will be launched to Mars, searching for evidence of past and present life. In preparation for these missions, terrestrial analogue samples of rock formations on Mars are studied in detail in order to optimize the scientific information that the analytical instrumentation will return. Desert varnishes are thin mineral coatings found on rocks in arid and semi-arid environments on Earth that are recognized as analogue samples. During the formation of desert varnishes (which takes many hundreds of years) organic matter is incorporated and microorganisms may also play an active role in the formation process. During this study, four complementary analytical techniques proposed for Mars missions (X-rays diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, elemental analysis and pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) were used to interrogate samples of desert varnish and to describe their capacity to sustain life under extreme scenario. For the first time, both the geochemistry and the organic compounds associated with desert varnish are described using an identical set of samples. XRD and Raman spectroscopy measurements were used to non-destructively interrogate the mineralogy of the samples. In addition, the use of Raman spectroscopy instruments enabled the detection of β-carotene, a highly Raman active biomarker. The content and the nature of the organic material in the samples was further investigated using elemental analysis and methylated Py-GC-MS and a bacterial origin was determined to be likely. In the context of planetary exploration, we describe the habitable nature of desert varnish based on the bio-geochemical composition of the samples. Possible interference of the geological substrate on the detectability of pyrolysis products is also suggested. [less ▲]

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See detailInvestigation of sol-gel yttrium doped ZnO thin films: structural and optical properties
Ivanova, T; Harizanova, A; Koutzarova, T et al

in Journal of Physics: Conference Series (2016)

Nanostructured metal oxide films are extensively studied due to their numerous applications such as optoelectronic devices, sensors. In this work, we report the Y–Zn–O nanostructured films prepared by sol ... [more ▼]

Nanostructured metal oxide films are extensively studied due to their numerous applications such as optoelectronic devices, sensors. In this work, we report the Y–Zn–O nanostructured films prepared by sol-gel technology from sols with different concentration of yttrium precursor, followed by post-annealing treatment. The Y doped ZnO thin films have been deposited on Si and quartz substrates by spin coating method, then treated at températures ranging from 300-800°C. XRD analysis reveals modification of the film structure and phases in the doped ZnO films. [less ▲]

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See detailOptical characterization of Sol-Gel ZnO:Al thin films
Ivanova, T; Harizanova, A; Koutzarova, T et al

in Journal of Physics: Conference Series (2016), 700

This paper presents a sol-gel technological process for preparing thin films of ZnO and ZnO:Al. The effect of annealing treatments (500, 600, 700 and 800 oC) on their properties was studied. The ... [more ▼]

This paper presents a sol-gel technological process for preparing thin films of ZnO and ZnO:Al. The effect of annealing treatments (500, 600, 700 and 800 oC) on their properties was studied. The structural evolution with the temperature was investigated by using X-Ray diffraction (XRD). Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) and UV-VIS spectrophotometry were applied to characterizing the films’ vibrational and optical properties. The ZnO and ZnO:Al films possessed a polycrystalline structure. The films studied are highly transparent in the visible spectral range. The optical band gap values and the haze parameter were also determined. [less ▲]

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See detailNa2FePO4F/multi-walled carbon nanotubes for lithium-ion batteries: Operando Mössbauer study of spray-dried composites
Brisbois, Magali; Caes, Sébastien ULg; Sougrati, M.T. et al

in Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells (2016), 148

In order to favor electronic conductivity in sodium iron fluorophosphate electrodes for lithium- or sodium-ion batteries, composites of Na2FePO4F with multi-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were prepared by ... [more ▼]

In order to favor electronic conductivity in sodium iron fluorophosphate electrodes for lithium- or sodium-ion batteries, composites of Na2FePO4F with multi-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were prepared by pilot-scale spray drying. Addition of multi-walled CNTs in the solution results in an excellent dispersion of the CNTs within the volume of Na2FePO4F and not only at the surface of the particles. Following a heat treatment at 600°C in argon in order to reach crystallization, X-ray diffraction and ex situ Mössbauer spectroscopy revealed the presence of significant amounts of Fe(III) and maghemite (γ-Fe2O3) in the powder. However, Na2FePO4F/CNTs composites exhibit good electrochemical performance when cycling against lithium, with a discharge capacity of 104mAhg-1 at C/10 rate and 90mAhg-1 at 1C rate. Therefore, operando 57Fe transmission Mössbauer spectroscopy analyses were carried out in order to investigate the evolution of the iron oxidation state during cycling. During the first discharge, all the Fe(III) is reduced to Fe(II), explaining the good electrochemical performance. [less ▲]

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See detailLi4Ti5O12 powders by spray-drying: influence of the solution concentration and particle size on the electrochemical properties
Jamin, Claire; Brisbois, Magali; Caes, Sébastien ULg et al

Conference (2015, June 23)

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See detailElucidating the opto-electrical properties of solid and hollow titania scattering layers for improvement of dye-sensitized solar cells
Thalluri, Venkata Visveswara Gopala Kris; Henrist, Catherine ULg; Spronck, Gilles ULg et al

in Thin Solid Films (2015)

The light scattering method has been adapted in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) for optical absorption enhancement. In DSC's, particle-size of TiO2 should be inline with the scattering wavelength range ... [more ▼]

The light scattering method has been adapted in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) for optical absorption enhancement. In DSC's, particle-size of TiO2 should be inline with the scattering wavelength range. Scattering particles can be used either by forming a bilayer structure with TiO2 nanocrystalline film or into the bulk of TiO2 nanocrystalline film. For improving the DSCs performances these scattering layers aim to refract/reflect the incident light by extending the traveling distance of UV-Visible/near-IR light within the dye-sensitized TiO2 nanocrystalline film. In this work, the scattering layers with two different particle-sizes (~200 nm-solid and ~400 nm-hollow) were deposited as an additional layer on the top of dye-sensitized TiO2 nanocrystalline film and the morphological properties were studied. By using various opto-electrical characterization techniques, the influence of these scattering layers for two different classes of DSCs prepared from N3 (UV-Vis) and SQ2 (near-IR) dyes were investigated. [less ▲]

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See detailOptical characterization of sol-gel ZnO:Al thin films
Ivanova, T; Harizanova, A; Koutzarova, T et al

in Superlattices & Microstructures (2015), 85

This work presents a sol-gel approach for ZnO:Al films deposition. The effect of Al component and annealing treatments (from 500 to 800°C) on the film structural and optical properties has been studied ... [more ▼]

This work presents a sol-gel approach for ZnO:Al films deposition. The effect of Al component and annealing treatments (from 500 to 800°C) on the film structural and optical properties has been studied. Sol-gel ZnO and Al2O3 films are used for comparative analyses. Structural evolution as a function of annealing temperatures is investigated by using X-ray diffraction (XRD). XRD analysis of ZnO:Al films revealed that the predominant crystal phase is a wurtzite ZnO. It can be seen that the addition of Al leads to decaying of the film crystallinity. Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) and UV-VIS spectrophotometry are applied for characterization of the vibrational and optical properties. The Al component influences the shapes of the absorption bands. The optical properties of the sol-gel ZnO, ZnO:Al and Al2O3 films reveal very interesting features. Increasing Al component results in significantly higher film transparency. [less ▲]

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See detailComparison of structural features of spin-coated and USP-deposited templated α-Fe2O3films
Toussaint, Caroline ULg; Chatzikyriakou, Daphne; Cloots, Rudi ULg et al

Poster (2015)

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See detailFacile deposition of ZnO:Cu films: Structural and optical characterization
Ivanova, T.; Harizanova, A.; Koutzarova, T. et al

in Materials Science in Semiconductor Processing (2015), 30

Sol-gel technology has been applied for preparation of ZnO:Cu films. The proposed facile approach allows obtaining a wide variety of copper doped zinc oxide systems, revealing different structural and ... [more ▼]

Sol-gel technology has been applied for preparation of ZnO:Cu films. The proposed facile approach allows obtaining a wide variety of copper doped zinc oxide systems, revealing different structural and optical behaviors. The work presents structural and optical studies depending on Cu concentration and thermal treatments in the range of 500-800°C. The structural analysis is performed by X-Ray diffraction (XRD). It reveals that small Cu addition enhances the film crystallization. Increasing copper concentration results in deterioration of ZnO:Cu crystallization. XRD study manifests no Cu oxide phases in ZnO:Cu film structure for lower Cu additions. For a specific higher copper concentration, an appearance of a small fraction of copper oxide is detected. Vibrational properties have been characterized by FTIR spectroscopy. The effect of the copper introduction into ZnO reveals a slight change of optical properties compared to ZnO films for certain Cu ratios. ZnO:Cu films with higher copper contents manifest different optical behaviors with very high transparency in spectral visible range. [less ▲]

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See detailCombining mesoporosity and Ti-doping in hematite films for water splitting
Toussaint, Caroline ULg; Tran, Hoang Son ULg; Colson, Pierre ULg et al

in Journal of Physical Chemistry C (2015), 119(4), 1642-1650

(Graph Presented). In this study, we report the synthesis of Ti-doped mesoporous hematite films by soft-templating for application as photoanodes in the photoelectrolysis of water (water splitting ... [more ▼]

(Graph Presented). In this study, we report the synthesis of Ti-doped mesoporous hematite films by soft-templating for application as photoanodes in the photoelectrolysis of water (water splitting). Because the activation of the dopant requires a heat treatment at high temperature (≥800°C), it usually results in the collapse of the mesostructure. We have overcome this obstacle by using a temporary SiO2 scaffold to hinder crystallite growth and thereby maintain the mesoporosity. The beneficial effect of the activated dopant has been confirmed by comparing the photocurrent of doped and undoped films treated at different temperatures. The role of the mesostructure was investigated by comparing dense, collapsed, and mesoporous films heated at different temperatures and characterized under front and back illumination. It turns out that the preservation of the mesotructure enables a better penetration of the electrolyte into the film and therefore reduces the distance that the photogenerated holes have to travel to reach the electrolyte. As a result, we found that mesoporous films with dopant activation at 850°C perform better than comparable dense and collapsed films. [less ▲]

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See detailMagnetic shielding performances of YBa2Cu3O7−δ -coated silver tubes obtained by electrophoretic deposition
Devendra Kumar, N; Closset, Raphaël ULg; Wera, Laurent ULg et al

in Superconductor Science and Technology (2015), 28

We report a complete procedure to achieve multilayer YBCO thick films by electrophoretic deposition on silver tubes using a suspension of YBCO powder in butanol. With the aim to optimize the magnetic ... [more ▼]

We report a complete procedure to achieve multilayer YBCO thick films by electrophoretic deposition on silver tubes using a suspension of YBCO powder in butanol. With the aim to optimize the magnetic shielding performances of the coatings, we have carried out an extensive investigation of the influence of the deposition parameters, the multilayer deposition sequence and the intermediate/final heat treatments on the coating microstructure. Using the optimized conditions, a 24-layer YBCO coating has been successfully prepared on an 80 mm long Ag tube: the melt growth processed multilayered YBCO thick film thus obtained can shield an applied magnetic field of 1.9 mT at 77 K, the highest value per thickness unit reported so far in the literature for these materials. [less ▲]

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See detailQuantitative Texture Analysis of melt-cast processed Bi-2212 superconductors
Dellicour, Aline ULg; Vertruyen, Bénédicte ULg; Chateigner, Daniel et al

Poster (2014, October 15)

Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+δ HTSC superconductor is characterized by a very strong normal-state resistivity anisotropy, with ρc/ρab typically above 104. The aim of this study is to use Quantitative Texture Analysis ... [more ▼]

Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+δ HTSC superconductor is characterized by a very strong normal-state resistivity anisotropy, with ρc/ρab typically above 104. The aim of this study is to use Quantitative Texture Analysis from neutron diffraction measurements to estimate the orientation effect on the macroscopic resistivity (ρM) in melt-cast bulk Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+δ superconductors. Our approach uses the geometric mean (GMA) [1] of the single crystal resistivity tensor (ρSC) weighted by the Orientation Distribution Function (ODF) to quantitatively estimate the macroscopic resistivity tensor of the samples. The ODF is obtained from neutron Combined Analysis [2], using the E-WIMV algorithm of the MAUD software. The GMA applies to the rank-two resistivity tensor of the orthorhombic space group considered tetragonal due to the small difference of a- and b-axes of the phase, with only two independent tensor components. We relate a relatively good agreement between measured and calculated macroscopic resistivity ratios. [less ▲]

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See detailAnisotropic resistivity tensor of melt-cast Bi2212 superconductors from QTA
Dellicour, Aline ULg; Vertruyen, Bénédicte ULg; Lutterotti, Luca et al

Conference (2014, August)

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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 detailEffect of different technological approaches on the optical properties of ZnO sol-gel thin films
Ivanova, T.; Harizanova, A.; Koutzarova, T. et al

in Journal of Physics: Conference Series (2014), 514

The work presents a sol-gel approach with two types of solvents for ZnO films deposition in view of varying the films' structural and optical properties. The ZnO films were characterized by X-Ray ... [more ▼]

The work presents a sol-gel approach with two types of solvents for ZnO films deposition in view of varying the films' structural and optical properties. The ZnO films were characterized by X-Ray diffraction (XRD) and found to have a polycrystalline wurtzite phase structure. The grain sizes and the lattice parameters were determined; it was established that the ZnO crystallites' size increases with the annealing temperatures from 25 nm to 36 nm. The ZnO films possess high transmittance in the visible spectral range. Further, the optical band gap values were estimated. The material's vibration properties were analyzed by Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. The two technological sol-gel approaches for deposition of ZnO films, using two different solvents, proved to be successful in producing structures with different structural and optical properties. The thin films fabricated were very smooth and uniform and exhibited a high transparency in the visible spectral range. [less ▲]

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See detailSol-gel nanocrystalline ZnO:Ag films: Structural and optical properties
Ivanova, T.; Harizanova, A.; Koutzarova, T. et al

in Superlattices & Microstructures (2014), 70

The paper presents a sol-gel approach for deposition of ZnO:Ag composite films. The films are obtained by spin coating method on quartz and Si substrates. The effect of the annealing temperatures (500-800 ... [more ▼]

The paper presents a sol-gel approach for deposition of ZnO:Ag composite films. The films are obtained by spin coating method on quartz and Si substrates. The effect of the annealing temperatures (500-800 °C) and the gas ambient (oxygen and nitrogen) has been studied by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). Optical properties are investigated by UV-VIS spectroscopy. The transmittance spectra of ZnO:Ag films are differed from ZnO spectra and manifest absorption features due to silver nanoparticles formation. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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