XSD Seminars

XSD Seminars are an open forum where speakers from the U.S. and abroad, as well as XSD, present their latest research. All are cordially invited to attend.

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Past Seminars

2014

Jan 13
Monday

Probing the Metal-Insulator Transition in Engineered NdNiO3

Speaker: Mary H. Upton, Inelastic X-ray & Nuclear Resonant Scattering (IXN)
XSD Presentation
401/A1100 @ 2:00 PM
View Description
NdNiO3, along with other rare earth nickelates, has been the focus of intense research in the last decade due to its metal-insulator transition (MIT), occurring at ~210 K in NdNiO3. The transition temperature can be tuned (or suppressed) with strain giving rise to the possibility of engineered heterostructures. There are many competing models of the MIT, of which the true nature is not known. It has been suggested that the MIT results from the emergence of a low temperature charge ordered state involving the d electrons. Alternately, it may result from the opening of a charge transfer gap between the Ni d and O p electrons. We report on the effect of epitaxial strain and temperature on d-electrons in NdNiO3 as measured by bulk-sensitive resonant inelastic x-ray scattering.
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Jan 13
Monday

Engineering the Elasticity of Soft Colloidal Materials Through Surface Modification and Shape Anisotropy

Speaker: Lillian C. Hsiao, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
XSD Presentation
401/A1100 @ 11:00 AM
View Description
Designing complex fluids has always involved the arduous manipulation of system-specific parameters. Recently, we developed a general correlation to predict the flow behavior of a range of soft matter based on their microstructure. By applying the framework of structural rigidity at the macroscale (bridges, buildings, domes) to the microscale, we are able to explain the nonlinear elasticity of colloids flowing at high rates that are typical of industrial processing. In particular, we explore the idea that colloidal gels can be designed with better mechanical properties and stability without resorting to a greater quantity of materials, simply by incorporating particles with different shapes, sizes, and roughness. Biphasic particles with metallic facets have also been proposed to provide extraordinary structural strength due to their interaction anisotropy. We test these ideas by synthesizing monophasic and biphasic colloids of controlled roughness in various ellipsoidal shapes, dispersing the particles in refractive-index matched solvents, and inducing self-assembly and gelation with a measurable and tunable depletion attraction. To quantify their flow properties, rheological measurements are carried out in conjunction with microscopy experiments and direct force measurements using optical tweezers. Our understanding of gel physics and rheology shows that the trial-and-error engineering of viscoelasticity can be mitigated by applying the principle of structural rigidity to material design; for example, engineers can incorporate smaller ellipsoidal particles to increase yield stress without a significant increase in the production cost.
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Jan 10
Friday

Light-X-ray Scattering and Rheology of Soft Matter

Speaker: Yu-Ho Wen, Cornell University
XSD Presentation
401/A1100 @ 11:00 AM
View Description
Soft matter is an important class of molecular materials, typically composed of polymers, colloids, and other mesoscopic constituents. They are indispensible in contemporary technological applications—for example, solid electrolytes in rechargeable lithium batteries and solution-cast thin film in polymer light-emitting diodes (PLEDs). Herein we report on the dynamics and structure of the two advanced materials—nanoparticle salts and conjugated polymers. The nanoparticle salts are created by cofunctionalization of metal oxide nanoparticles with tethered salts and neutral organic ligands, and are shown to exhibit equilibrium, Newtonian flow behaviors. We find that ionic cross-links between the salts can be created/weakened by variations of counterion size and dielectric medium. Scrutiny into the SAXS structure factors and plateau moduli further disclosed that nanoscale interparticle spacing imposed on tethered molecules produces topological constraints analogous to those in entangled polymers, uncovering the molecular origin of a similar plateau modulus shared with polymer-tethered nanoparticles and entangled polymer melts. Time-composition superposition of linear viscoelastic data further indicates stricking dynamical similarities between the two systems. In the second part, we propose a self-consistent formulation for analyzing the dynamic structure factor of aggregate species in conjugated polymer solutions, where a wide size distribution and unknown aggregate morphology, as well as pronounced interferences between translational and interior segmental motions of aggregate clusters have posed stringent challenges for conventional light-scattering analyses. Additionally, in situ rheological and turbidity measurements reveal that an externally imposed flow can result in instant and/or persistent changes in the bulk aggregation state of the precursor solutions.
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Jan 9
Thursday

Hierarchical Semiconductor, Metal and Hybrid Nanostructures and the Study of their Light-Matter Interactions

Speaker: Anna Lee, University of Toronto
XSD Presentation
401/A1100 @ 2:00 PM
View Description
The interdisciplinary work during my Ph.D. and post-doctoral studies (Dept. of Chemistry and Dept. of Electrical Engineering, University of Toronto) explore the optical properties of hierarchical structures composed of nanoscale building blocks ranging from metals to semiconductors and composites, organized through bottom-up design methods.

This talk is comprised of three main research projects for which the common thread is the rational design of nanoscale assembled structures and their interactions with light.

Recent advances in spectrally tunable solution-processed metal nanoparticles have provided unprecedented control over light at the nanoscale. The plasmonic properties of metal nanoparticles have been explored as optical signal enhancers for applications ranging from sensing to nanoelectronics. Specifically, (1) by following the dynamic generation of hot spots in self-assembled chains of gold nanorods (NRs), we have established a direct correlation between ensemble-averaged surface- enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and extinction properties of these nanoscale chains in a solution state. Experimental results were supported by comprehensive finite-difference time-domain simulations. Building from this, (2) we studied an alternate geometry, namely side-by-side assembled NRs. There is a general misconception that aggregates of metal nanoparticles are more efficient SERS probes than individual nanoparticles, due to the enhancement of the electric field in the interparicle gaps. However, we have shown through theoretical and experimental analyses that this is not the case for side-by-side assembled gold NRs. (3) Progress in colloidal quantum dot photovoltaics offers the potential for low-cost, large-area solar power; however, these devices suffer from poor quantum efficiency in the more weakly-absorbed near infrared portion of the sun’s spectrum. Here, I will talk about a plasmonic-excitonic solar cell that combines two jointly-tuned solution processed infrared materials. We show through experiment and theory that a plasmonic- excitonic design using gold nanoshells with optimized single-particle scattering-to- absorption cross section ratios leads to a strong enhancement in near-field absorption and resultant photocurrent in the performance-limiting near infrared spectral region. The present work offers guidance towards the establishment of “design rules” for the development of colloidal nanoparticle assembled systems for plasmonic sensing applications.
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