Synthesis and characterization of oxide materials

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Thorat, Atul V.
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University College Cork
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Nanostructured materials are central to the evolution of future electronics and biomedical applications amongst other applications. This thesis is focused on developing novel methods to prepare a number of nanostructured metal oxide particles and films by a number of different routes. Part of the aim was to see how techniques used in nanoparticle science could be applied to thin film methods to develop functional surfaces. Wet-chemical methods were employed to synthesize and modify the metal oxide nanostructures (CeO2 and SiO2) and their structural properties were characterized through advanced X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, photoelectron spectroscopy and other techniques. Whilst particulates have uses in many applications, their attachment to surfaces is of importance and this is frequently challenging. We examined the use of block copolymer methods to form very well defined metal oxide particulate-like structures on the surface of a number of substrates. Chapter 2 describes a robust method to synthesize various sized silica nanoparticles. As-synthesized silica nanoparticles were further functionalized with IR-820 and FITC dyes. The ability to create size controlled nanoparticles with associated (optical) functionality may have significant importance in bio-medical imaging. Thesis further describes how non-organic modified fluorescent particles might be prepared using inorganic oxides. A study of the concentrations and distributions of europium dopants within the CeO2 nanoparticles was undertaken and investigated by different microscopic and spectroscopic techniques. The luminescent properties were enhanced by doping and detailed explanations are reported. Additionally, the morphological and structural evolution and optical properties were correlated as a function of concentrations of europium doping as well as with further annealing. Further work using positron annihilation spectroscopy allowed the study of vacancy type defects formed due to europium doping in CeO2 crystallites and this was supported by complimentary UV-Vis spectra and XRD work. During the last few years the interest in mesoporous silica materials has increased due to their typical characteristics such as potential ultra-low dielectric constant materials, large surface area and pore volume, well-ordered and uniform pores with adjustable pores between 2 and 50 nm. A simple, generic and cost-effective route was used to demonstrate the synthesis of 2D mesoporous silica thin films over wafer scale dimensions in chapter 5. Lithographic resist and in situ hard mask block copolymer followed by ICP dry etching were used to fabricate mesoporous silica nanostructures. The width of mesoporous silica channels can be varied by using a variety of commercially available lithographic resists whereas depth of the mesoporous silica channels can be varied by altering the etch time. The crystal structure, morphology, pore arrangement, pore diameters, thickness of films and channels were determined by XRD, SEM, ellipsometry and the results reported. This project also extended work towards the study of the antimicrobial study of nanopatterned silver nanodot arrays formed using the block copolymer approach defined above. Silver nanodot arrays were successfully tested for antimicrobial activity over S. aureus and P. aeruginosa biofilms and results shows silver nanodots has good antimicrobial activity for both S. aureus and P. aeruginosa biofilms. Thus, these silver nanodot arrays shows a potential to be used as a substitute for the resolution of infection complications in many areas.
Ceria nanoparticles , Mesoporous silica , Block co-polymers
Thorat, A. V. 2014. Synthesis and characterization of oxide materials. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.